Sunday, February 05, 2006

how you don't need to die to die

after being struck with that stroke of flyer genius, the 43-marina finally arrived.

i sat down.

i opened my bag and took out my book.

and then, i inhaled.

there are many smells found on buses and like most people, i like to figure out exactly what it smells like. for example, whenever i take the 1-california, the aroma that hits my nose is usually something like the worst tasting soup you'll ever have. usually the smells on the 22-fillmore are a mixture of malt liquor and vomit.

good times.

but the smell on this 43-marina was easily the most pungent and disgusting i have ever smelled in my life. easily. it was nauseating - even after everyone opened every single window.

to put it simply, it smelled like we were delivering a busload of the nastiest dogshit in the world.

i had been hanging out with two dogs, so i smelled my clothes. there weren't any incriminating stains left unwanted. i checked under my sneakers. nothing. i looked around, and there she was - the saddest homeless woman i ever saw, wrapped in tattered clothes and clutching a paper bag.

i have never smelled anyone that smelled as bad as her. she was inhuman.

i wrote and directed a short film that involved a man who dies on a subway train. i don't know how long it takes for a human body to smell like death, and the bus route just started. she couldn't, could she?

i turned and looked, and she was awake and alive.

yes, she smelled so bad that i had to check.

but then i thought about it. okay, she's not dead, but for her to smell that bad, for her to have given up on her life so completely, isn't that dying? i mean, she was breathing, but for what?

that is sadness.

i couldn't wait to get off the bus, not only just to get away from the smell but also from those thoughts.

i used to think that so many of the homeless just didn't want to put the effort out that the rest of us did. but there's something really demented about the complete lack of ability to care for oneself in even the most basic of terms. that's not an economic problem. that's a social problem.

anyways, just getting all that off my chest - unlike that scent, of which a hint is now on my clothes.

2 comments:

RBrown said...

Bus smells. Gag. I've often thought that's be an interesting something - a scratch n sniff series where you have to match up the bus to the smell (the 22 - malt liquor, the 5, BO). That's. Just. Wrong.

crazyvirgo said...

ahhh i miss the shit (literally) out of SF!
if you're looking for more bad smells, try the 38 Geary.