Descending into the Doqqi Metro station and striding into the spacious hall bookended by turnstiles, I can never help but feel fear despite the relative comfort of the air conditioning and soothing decor. It’s because I know there is a clock ticking down my sweet remaining seconds of freedom before I meld with a pixelated blob of people mashed inside an un-air conditioned tube that collectively counts down the amount of stops it must survive.
This is only one aspect of the fear, however; the other aspect involves metro slime. The metro might be bursting with humans or relatively calm depending on the time of day, but regardless of hour, season, or year, every surface in the metro is covered with a fine layer of slime. As my hand grooves fill with pharaonic grime and lose all form of traction, even the slight bumps and jolts of the metro become a challenge to withstand.
Every time I enter, I know I will have to touch a pole or a handle covered in metro slime, and I know I will forget to wash my hands before eating my next meal. This is what we call in colloquial American English a lose-lose situation.