Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Can't Breeeeeeeeathe!

I've had a horrible cold, or something like a cold but worse, for the past 4 days, and finally ventured out onto the N today.

So I'm riding in the front car next to the middle door, and suddenly somewhere around 22nd street, when the door opens, I'm blasted with this horrible gust from above that not only freaks out my entire olfactory system, but makes me feel like if I don't move, I'm going to die. Not the odor of pee or poo or vomit, or something rotting, or a paper mill, or one of the traditional awful smells. Instead, imagine a mixture of overly scented laundry detergent, and pesticide. Something like that. Imagine the mixture very strong, and warm.

I don't know what it was about it but immediately I felt disoriented and unhealthy. The door closed, and wherever the blast was coming from (the ventilation system? I don't know), it stopped. I could still smell it but from where, I couldn't tell. Then three streets down, the door opened again, and I was blasted by it again, felt instantly dizzy, claustrophobic, and nauseated, and I had to get out of the seat. I felt like I was being gassed! I left by the back door and got into the rear car. But I couldn't get it out of my head, and so I left the train entirely and waited for the next one.

I can tolerate quite a variety of less than ideal smells, or at least endure them while I get away, and I am one of the last people to complain that my environment is unhealthy, but this was freaky. Maybe it was someone's detergent or (horrible) perfume, and my nose was messed up from the cold. Later I was in the elevator standing next to someone who had been smoking and rather than smelling stale, the odor of his clothes was acrid and piercing. Maybe it's a new body spray from Axe. ("Here at Axe, our products make you so irresistible that we had to invent a spray to keep women away.")

But, of course, maybe someone sprayed Fresh Scent Nerve Gas into the ventilation system to kill some critters there, and used 50 times the recommended amount, or didn't let it air out afterward.

Either way, once was enough.

And the obligatory postscript: As the car I had exited took off uphill away from me, the rear door stayed open. I looked at a guy standing on the other side of it and shrugged, and he shrugged back. Then it closed.

1 comment:

jsd said...

I got off a train once because the smell was so bad, but it was no mystery - it was coming from a homeless person. The train was crowded and the weather was warm. Hot car + stinky homeless guy = ABANDON SHIP.