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Usually I’m pretty good about knowing when a train car is going to stink. We’ve covered this on the NYC Street Etiquette series.
If it’s rush hour and a train car is empty, that’s a sign to move on to the next car. However, what do you though when you are on a packed train, and just before a very long, non-stop express ride, someone gets on? Then after a few moments the stench hits you? I’m not trying to make fun of them here. This is actually something that happens! What do you do then?
This has happened to me a few times, at that point you are pretty much screwed. There is nowhere to go, the doors are locked, and the train is too crowded to flee to the opposite side. You can try breathing through your mouth, but that doesn’t work. In some cases, the stench is just too overpowering. It reminds me of the “bog of eternal stench” from the film “Labyrinth.”
What can you do? I often ask myself, what we as a society can do to address this on the higher level. If we think we have it bad having to occasionally have to deal with the really awful smelling homeless person, imagine how difficult it must be for them daily. This point is not lost on me, but like many things in life, I don’t have the answer.
For now, I’ll just continue to take shallow breaths and hope that one of the ladies sprays her perfume as they have done in the past.