Truth be told, I don't even know why I still wake up in the morning and think that when I step outside of my apartment that I will have a normal, average day. Maybe I'm optimistic, maybe I'm ignorant, maybe I'm just straight-up unlucky when it comes to encountering strange humans, or maybe it’s all of the above? Who knows.
Riding the CTA brings people together – we all have the same motive: get from Destination A to Destination B. That's honestly all I was trying to do; I just needed to get to work. I was sitting on the Blue Line and not even three minutes after I sit down, I hear a "clip, clip, clip" sound, which made me look around trying to find the source of the noise. I wasn't able to find it and the sound stopped, so I brushed it off and thought nothing further of it. But when it started up again, I decided to turn around because it was the only place that I hadn't looked previously.
I wish I never turned around… I really do. This disgusting man was clipping his toenails on the train right behind me. Shoes and socks on the seat next to his and everything. I immediately felt all color drain from my body. I felt my heart
(figuratively) drop out of my chest on to the dirty CTA train floor. I wanted to curl up in a ball and just cry. I couldn't believe this was happening to me. Now, for those of you who don't know me personally, I loathe feet... so much to the point that it's actually classified as a phobia. Frankly, it's a tad bit embarrassing to be freaked out by feet, considering I have two of my own, but it's different. I know where my feet have been, I can't say the same for others.
Before I continue, I should probably give a little background. Bare feet have been a phobia of mine for as long as I can remember. When I was seven years old, I actually made posters for my room that read, "No shoes, no socks, no service". They were displayed on my door and inside of my room. I wouldn't swim in public pools because it required me to be barefoot in the locker room and on the pool deck. I wouldn't let people on my bed or in my room if they didn't have socks on. I used to give socks to people who entered my room… and I wouldn’t take them back, even if my mom washed them. I couldn’t get a pedicure because I would think about the nasty feet that have been in the chair before me. Basically… any situation that involved bare feet was one that I avoided.
Luckily, this feet phobia is not as bad as it used to be, but it's still bad. I still won't let people sleep or sit on my bed if they don't have socks on. I once cried (real tears) because I woke up to a friend (COUGH, COUGH, CAITLIN!) thinking it was funny to put her bare foot on my face while I was sleeping.
In September 2015 I had to visit the podiatrist because of a foot injury that I sustained and I had a horrible experience. I thought that I was having a heart attack during my visit but it was a panic attack. I had a full blown panic attack at the foot doctor’s office. We’re talking sweating profusely, hyperventilating, the whole shebang. Who has panic attacks in the podiatrists office? ME, I DO. I apparently couldn't handle the posters of feet and the thoughts of the grotesque fungal/viral foot infections that people before me came into the office with.
Now, fast forward to me sitting on the train. After I turned around and saw this man clipping his toenails, I turned back around immediately. I started feeling myself panicking and of course the train was running express from Monroe to California, so I was literally trapped. I know what some of you may be thinking, “Why didn’t you just transfer train cars?” You know, that is an excellent question, and I probably would have done just that if my brain wasn’t running circles around the world. I was far from thinking clearly at that point in time.
After seeing that this man was cutting his toenails DIRECTLY behind me, it was all I could think about. I was honestly frozen in fear – I couldn’t move, all I could do was sit there, barely breath and sweat. Then of course, my mind starting playing tricks on me, making me believe that his toenails were hitting the back of my head and getting stuck in my hair.
Five minutes later and probably a half gallon of sweat later, I finally was able to get up and move seats.
However, the remainder of my ride included me staring at the man in disgust for minutes on end. I finally got to the stop that I needed to get to, I got off, went home, and took a long shower.
I would not wish that experience on anybody, not even on the Republican candidate. Okay, maybe I would wish for a man to clip his nasty toenails behind him. But you all know what I meant.