“Oh my god, he’s cookin’ our garbage”
It’s. Hot. Out. Here.
We’re havin’ a heat wave here. First of a few that will happen this summer. Right now the A/C in the window is working hard to make it not 98 degrees, but 65. It’s comfortable in this room. Our “new” room. We (My Darling and I) switched rooms a couple months ago. We scrubbed the walls, demolished a “closet”-thing, painted, hung new curtains and it’s lovely. It’s peaceful and roomier.
But then we open that door and you can smell the stagnant air frozen in time in the hallway, living room, kitchen and bathroom. Those windows are open on the top and bottom to help circulate the air, but there has to be air MOVING around on the outside, and in a certain direction in order for it to come inside. Any garbage that is not filed under plastic or paper/cardboard, has to be taken out at the end of each day otherwise it cooks…and leaves an additional moist scent of yuck in the “air” that makes it feel thicker. So now that you’re in a non-air conditioned room in the house and already sweating, those pores open right up and with every breath you attempt to take in while quickly getting water or doing your dishes, can get stuck in your system, and seep out your pores.
Then there’s the whole “I’ve got to leave the apartment” thing that happens 4-5 times a week. Sometimes six. Now, I try to be smart in my own way and wear my work clothes to work, instead of wearing “regular” clothes and taking my work clothes with me to change. Some say that taking them keeps you from sweating in them on the way to work. Others don’t like the idea of wearing work clothes out and about, and then there’s me: I don’t want to carry anymore than I absolutely have to. So I get my bag(s)…(yes sometimes I take 2 purse like things) carrying only the essentials. My wallet, phone, lip-lip, 3-4 different kind of lip glosses, a couple pens, some kleenex, my ear buds, a glasses case I keep my charger and another set of ear buds in, my keys, some ibuprofen, deodorant, a couple extra hair ties, and a book. And in the other bag: my two pieces of uniform, a couple markers and pens, some latex gloves, some paper work for work, a book I need for work, my keys and another lip gloss. I told you–just the essentials. I mean, I don’t need an industrial strength hair dryer, I tie that shit back.
So, I get my stuff and go downstairs, and go outside and can immediately identify the awesome smells the sun has cooked up for me. Oddly enough the smell of melting horse poop has made itself known, but only by scent. I haven’t seen any big piles of horse manure. I can cigarettes and cigars of people passing by and that dirty sweaty smell kids seem to have after they go outside to play. En route to the train I’ll also pass a cart selling ice cream by the scoop, but I can never smell it. Then once in the train the thickness of the heat and left over air creates a sort of wall you can’t see or really feel, but you can sense it with your 7th or 8th sense, for sure. Sweat is going to happen, and everyone knows it. Lookin’ around I’ll see women with baby powder brushed against their chest and back, some guys have a towel or shirt they use to blot their face and bald, dripping-sweat head. Then those doors open to the train and cool air hits you and makes that wall of gross dissipate and I go to sit down and notice a line of moisture left on the seat. Man, you know that was from someones asscrack. So, of course I move on and sit elsewhere.
Stepping off the train and walking up the stairs I often smell a homeless person. There’s nothing else like it. A mixture of dirt, sweat, mold, feces, urine and garbage–all cooked and practically smeared on the human. Yes, that sounds gross. Yes, I sound mean. No, I don’t know what it’s like to be homeless like that. Yes, I’m sure they didn’t choose that life. It’s not something I think anyone would choose, nonetheless it’s quite pungent and you can never get used to it. Hitting the surface means smelling the carts that sell cheap coffee and dried out donuts, or halal stands, or fruit stands and a waft of newspapers and perfume and cologne will pass me by while I move past The Suits. I’m convinced they are wearing suite jackets because they have soaked their undershirt and dress shirt with sweat. I’ll pass by some small eateries and the construction and feel the cold air brush against my body as someone exits a place blasting the a/c. Then I turn that last corner and pull open the door to my work and feel that A/C. I’m thankful, then I realize the sweat dripping down my back getting cold and make sure I add another layer of deodorant before I head out to the floor. Eight to ten hours later, I’ll dread the smells I’ll encounter on the way home now that everyone has been cooking in the heat, sweating, not reapplying deodorant or picking up after their dogs (and horses?). I’ll walk by all the bags of trash lined up on the curb to be picked up and briefly wonder if it’s better than the smell of a New York Homeless person, and I shake my head at myself and say yes, it is. I know, I know. Sigh.
Then it’s home and back to the room we cleaned and painted and have the a/c turned on. Then it’s to the shower and a small silly banter about going into the kitchen to make food.
Nothing quite like a summer in New York. Nope, not quite.