Saturday, April 2, 2011

When You Can Smell Yourself, There's A Problem

Ok, homeless people, we need to have a talk.

I have had my fair share of run-ins with vagrants over the years.  How could I not, I live in New York City.  Normally I am willing to simply avert my gaze, hold my breath and wait for the crazy to pass me by.  See, I can forgive the mounds of rubbish being dragged along and the paranoid mutterings you can't quite make out, as long as they see clear to ignore me.  

You know, like bees.  

Don't bother them, they won't bother you.

My first truly scary encounter with the modern vagabond coincided with my first subway ride.  I'm from a rather sheltered existence in Virginia.  Admittedly, I was ill-equipped to dive into city living, and the idea of riding the subway scared the bejesus outta me.  I had finally gotten up the minerals to travel farther than 10 blocks from my apartment, which meant taking the subway.  As soon as I boarded the car I noticed a tattered individual sitting alone, rocking back and forth in his seat.  No one else seemed to be paying him any mind, and because I seem to enjoy feeling uncomfortable, I decided to listen to what he was muttering.  Turns out, he was having a violent conversation with himself over what subway stop he was suppose to use.  Suddenly he lurched out of his seat, bounded over to the subway map on the wall to prove to himself that he needed to get off at Broadway (which by itself isn't really the name of a stop, but never mind.)  Finally my stop came and as I scrambled to exit the train I hear him say to himself, "Ok, man, ok, don't go crazy, man, just don't go crazy!"

Since then I have endured the noisome stenches that make my eyes leak and my soul despair, the creepy stares that are occasionally accompanied  by rapid hand movement in the trouser area, off-key crooning, beseechments to God to bless me and violent outbursts at invisible catalysts.  I have seen human beings laid low from living in the wilderness that is living roofless New York.  

I understand that most of you homeless out there are fucking crazy.  You are completely free to live as your own individual insanity bids you.  Go for it.  Make friends with the rats and pigeons.  Raise your fists and curse the heavens for the injustice of the guy who kicked out out of 7-11.  Your brain doesn't work, and I don't hold that against you.

Those of you who are sane.

Listen up.

For the love of God - shower.  There's gotta be somewhere you can get that done.  I can't take the smell of week old urine and decomposing living person anymore.  

Or just stop peeing on yourself.

Guess what happened to me on the subway today?

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