Catherine here. I am back in California, which means that I've reclaimed my status as a displaced East Coaster, which I'm not sure is a good thing. It leads to a bit of depression. But that's what phone therapy is for.
Anyway. So here's my final NYC tale. As August and I were about to get on a very crowded 4 train last weekend, I noticed that there was a man at the door of the train who didn't have pants on. Boxers yes, coat, jacket, yes (it was about 30 degrees outside), but no pants. Yet he looked pretty clean cut, a distinction that gave me the subconscious rationale to shove myself onto the car--until August tugged my arm and whispered, astutely, "That man has no pants on." We chose a different door instead.
Doors slide shut, train pulls out of the station, I grab onto a pole (though avoiding direct hand-to-pole contact, because I have a subway phobia that prevents me from touching things, which is a different, and more neurotic, story). It's pretty crowded, so I just kind of cast my eyes downward. And there, next to me, is another pair of bare legs. A woman this time, with a courdouroy jacket, an ample bottom, and a pair of boy shorts. I look around a bit more. There's a man sitting across from me, splayed legs, coat, periwinkle boxer briefs. The more I look around, the more flesh I see. I whisper to August, "I think we're in the no-pants car!" Further observation reveals the pasty white flesh of about ten people's thighs.
There are plenty of people with pants on, but only a few of us are laughing--everyone else is acting like it's a totally normal thing. Then, as I start paying attention to conversations, I hear a male voice say, "Yeah, it's weird--I guess I just forgot to put them on today! I can be really scatterbrained." Then a woman, sitting to my left, turns to her seatmate and says, "You see, normally I have a morning routine--I make coffee, and I put my pants on. This morning, I didn't make coffee."
Then just when it seems like it can't get odder, a woman starts shoving her way down the subway car. She's acting like one of the people who sell batteries on the train--totally nonchalant, just dragging a garbage bag behind her, muttering, "Pants, a dollar. A dollar for pants. Anyone want pants?"
The coffee woman says, "Thank God," and flags her down, pays her a buck and takes a pair of pants out of the bag. Pulls them on, does the belt, and gets out of the subway, along with us and the rest of the no-pantsers, at Union Square. I tried to take a picture of people putting on their pants on the subway platform, but it came out all blurry-like, almost as if I were trying to take a picture of a ghost.
But people, I swear it's true! Do a google search for "no pants subway NYC." And put your pants back on. It's freezing outside.