Thursday, December 21, 2006

Another day in hell

I climb 13 flights of stairs in the subways on my regular daily commute, six on the way to work, seven on the way back. On many days, due to the impeccable timing of the MTA, I have to sprint up four particularly steep flights if I don't want to miss a connecting train.

Overall, I consider this a good thing. I am old and fat and climbing the stairs is usually the best, and certainly the most consistent, intense cardiovascular excercise I get, so if I don't keel over, it is probably good for me.

Another little known fact about New York is that there are homeless people. Not very many, by west coast standards, or even D.C., but although ours are few, they often smell much worse than the more numerous homeless folk in other towns.

These two facets of life in the big cesspool came together for me today. After sprinting up four flights of stairs, grabbing the subway doors and using all my strength to keep them open until the conductor relented and let me in, I found myself huffing and puffing in one of the smelliest cars I've ever had the misfortune to ride in. The eau de homeless was so strong it was almost as bad at the far end of the car as it was next to the poor soul from which it emanated, who was right next to me when I entered. Gasping for breath after the sprint, I'm sure I inhaled several decades worth of eau de homeless before the train got to the next station. Then when I got off the train, I set my bag down in a puddle of piss.

Otherwise, things are swell with the holidays coming up and, lacking smelling salts, I'm waving a glass of rum under my nose to make it all better. Soon I won't be smellin a thing.