The P Train

It smells like urine in this train car.  I’m starting to get a headache.

I’m also a little nervous because someone once told me that when you smell something, it’s particles of that object going into your nose. I really hope whoever peed themselves doesn’t have any diseases that can be transported from urine particle/nostril contact. Ack.

From a psychology standpoint, it’s rather fascinating to watch people’s reactions to smelling this stench.

They enter all excited, as I did, because there are so many empty seats.  Then they scrunch up their face and look around to try to determine where it’s coming from.  “Who smells like urine?”  If they’re anything like me, they’re looking for the homeless man that has camped out in the car.  Hmm…no sign of one.  They look around at the other people, trying to decide if maybe they’re imagining the smell.  No, that woman has her face buried in her scarf, she definitely smells it too.

Then comes the choice. Sacrifice your seat to go stand in a better smelling car?  Or sacrifice your olfactory comfort to rest your weary legs?

If you’re lazy like me (which a good handful of people are), you’ll remain sitting as long as you’re able.  Pop a mint or a chocolate, apply lip gloss, lean into the old lady wearing too much perfume who just sat down and hope she doesn’t get off too soon.

However, if you’re more like the majority of the people I observed, you will get off at the next stop to dash into a neighboring car.  I have also noticed, however, that the deeper into Brooklyn we get, the more likely people are to stick it out.  The people who didn’t leave after one stop also didn’t leave after two or three.  These are the people who are in it for the long haul and appreciate the value of getting a seat during the after-work rush hour.

I thought the smell was fading, but I think I might just be getting used to it because a couple just walked on the train and the guy immediately exclaimed, “PEEE EW” and his female companion goes, “Oh gross, I am NOT staying on here. I’m getting off.”  When her boo looked at her as if questioning how serious she was being, she added a sassy, “Goodbye!” and quickly exited the car with her man scurrying quickly after her.

I really hope the smell of urine isn’t like the smell of cigarettes or burnt coffee. The kind of smell that absorbs into your clothes and hair and follows you around like Pigsty’s cloud of dirt.  I hope it’s one of those smells that, as long as you don’t come into direct contact with it, will stay where it is and leave you be.  Though I guess if I’m getting used to the smell I might not know if it lingered or not. Well, at least not until my roommate comes home and asks me where the hell I’ve been. Or if I’m so wasted that I couldn’t make it to the bathroom.

I walk quickly out of the subway station and delight in the first burst of fresh, albeit cold, air.  When I finally enter my apartment, there is no longer any sign of the odor.

Phew.  Potential crisis averted.

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~ by Valerie Anne on 02/13/2011.

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