Here’s a strange fact about New Yorkers you may not know, if’n you don’t live here: people here think it's acceptable to clip their nails on the subway. I wish I knew why. I wish I could give a passable excuse for the people from all walks of life I see clipping away, letting their nail bits fly with abandon all over the train, skittering across the train’s floor, probably landing in someone else’s sandals, that person screaming WHY GOD WHY while God can only shake his head and weep in horror.
It’s not like nail clipping is the worst thing I’ve seen on the subway; I’ve witnessed exhibitionism and self-mutilation and private acts of love and some intensely distasteful grooming routines, but those were all performed by people with serious mental problems. No excuses are needed for those people. Abandoned by the system, they have been given implicit leave by the City of New York to go ahead and frottage* themselves against a subway pole. Go ahead! We just won’t ever touch that pole again!
But the nail clipping, people. Nail clipping. I’ve seen makeup applied, creams slathered on, nail polish removed—I watched a woman curl her eyelashes on a bus—and while I would never condone such behavior, I at least sort of get why (okay, except the creams, especially the smelly creams). But nail clipping? Can’t it wait? Do you want to impress your fellow passengers with your grooming habits? Does the idea of standing over a trash can or a sink while clipping fill you with despair? Are you hoping to meet someone who loves the feel of freshly clipped nails raked across his/her back? Do you not get that the clip-clip-clip sound rings throughout the entire car, that it’s like a siren announcing that you get off on littering MTA property with your dead skin?
I’ve had enough. Next time I see someone clipping their nails, I’m going to ... well. I'm going to give them such a look.
*Apparently this isn’t a verb. Until I made it one, just now.