Subway madness is a real condition that affects millions of city residents. It's hard to determine its primary cause—it could be the cramped space, the weird smells, the generally overwhelming environment, or the millions of other mad people in your immediate surroundings. For whatever reason, people on public transit often snap. It's why every now and then, you see a totally normal-looking person board the train, sit down, and scream about chemtrails.
Anyone who takes a bus, train, or city-subsidized trolley to work is bound to rack up bizarre true tales. The following are real accounts from New York, Portland, and Philadelphia residents. While a few are downright whimsical, others take a page from Liz Lemon's terrifying "I'm pregnant with a kitty cat" playbook. Stay safe out there.
Persistence Is Key
I had a mariachi band follow me on the New York subway one time. I was sitting, and when they came over, they planted right in front of me. I wasn't feeling it, so I moved seats. They followed me to where I was sitting. —Carolyn
"There's More Where That Came From"
It was a fairly empty train. Not too late at night, not like 2 AM or anything, but things were happening. I was just sitting down for a bit and suddenly saw chicken bones flying at my feet. So when I looked up—I didn't react out of fear over what the fuck was happening—I locked eyes with this man flinging poultry at me. He just said, "Yeah… there's more where that came from." And he continued eating the remaining wings he had. I don't think I said anything. —Karis
I fell asleep on the subway. When I woke up, there were two rats on me. One was eating something on my shirt. I jumped up and threw them. —Ryan
I forget what he pulled the rabbit out of, but it was genuinely impressive.
Can I Get One of Those?
There was definitely a guy who boarded the bus in Portland wearing a rubber monkey mask and holding a box of Voodoo Doughnuts. Just walked on, real casual, rode the whole way acting like there was nothing strange happening. Just a regular monkey guy, with a box of donuts, on a regular commute. —Adam
One time I saw a pretty legit magic show that had real animals involved [on the subway]. The guy had a top hat and a bow tie; I can't remember if there was a cape, but there was a live bird and a live rabbit. He made one appear in a pan—that was the bird. I forget what he pulled the rabbit out of, but it was genuinely impressive. —Ali
I sat next to a girl who was watching a video of herself pole dancing in, like, ultra slow motion for at least ten minutes. She wasn't commenting on it or anything—just watching intently. —Sam
Welcome to Philly
I was 21 and had just moved to Philadelphia. It was my first day at Temple University, and I lived off campus, so I had to take the train to get there. I was nervous because, as pathetic as it sounds, I didn't know how to read a train schedule, and I was paranoid I would get off at the wrong stop or miss my first class. So I get on the train and am the only one in my car. I almost get to Temple and am feeling super proud of myself when into my car walks this very well-dressed, clean-cut guy in a button-down shirt, dress pants, and shoes. I notice that he looks very confused and out of it, and as I'm thinking he might be on drugs or still drunk from the night before, I notice that his entire penis and balls are just hanging out of his zipper. I got out of that car and off the train as soon as I could. —Kate