Tuesday, January 27, 2004

I'm just done with people

This morning a woman sat down next to me on a bench at the train station while I was eating my bagel, and I immediately lost my appetite. The woman was middle-aged, attractive, well-dressed, not overly made-up, and wearing enough perfume to stun a nest of hornets. We were in the open air and I was overwhelmed. How does someone not know when she's done this? I can understand getting used to how you smell, or not realizing you have BO on a hot day or after working out. But how can someone put on that much perfume without choking? This woman didn't look dirty, I don't think she was covering up for lack of a shower or anything. She just apparently had no nose.

I wanted to say something, but what could I say? It was a public place, and no matter what she smelled like she had a right to sit there. I thought, "Can't you see I'm eating! How dare you?" but I suppose there's an argument to be made for eating my meals at home instead of during my commute.

I had a professor in college who we all liked very much, but we were often able to track her down like police dogs when we were looking for her, as she left a cloud in her wake. I once had to excuse myself from class because my eyes were stinging in the front row. This was a well-to-do, well-mannered, very together woman, and yet she just didn't get that she was wearing ten times as much perfume as she needed. I'll never understand it.

Anyway, the train came, and I was happy not only because it meant I could get away from Stinky Woman, but also because I could see several empty seats through the windows.

These seats, it turned out, were covered in mud. I don't think this was vandalism, as I've seen this happen all winter: small children often stand on subway seats as they fidget and look out the windows. I did it myself when I was little. But Parents of New York, I beg you, use some common sense. The ground is covered in slush and mud and salt right now. When your darling little ones put their nasty boots on the seats, they get that nastiness all over, so that no one can sit down for the rest of the day (maybe the week, who knows how often they hose these things down?).

And so I stood. And despite my best efforts to get to a different car, I stood right next to Perfume Lady.

I should have taken this as a sign of how the rest of my day would go.

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