Sunday, March 04, 2007

Malodorous passengers make for blue-faced bus journeys

I was on the 49 bus one Saturday morning heading into town and sitting behind a chap who, unfortunately, stank to high Heaven. This wasn't just the sweat of a long night's work, either. It was the stench of maybe weeks, possibly months, of not washing. Bad enough, but there were no other seats on the bus vacant (except for one beside him). My eyes started to tear with the smell and I was thinking about whether or not to get off the bus and catch another one when this girl in her early twenties sat down beside him. I was fascinated, because she busied herself getting a few small items sorted in her handbag, then sat back to enjoy the view through the upper deck windscreen without apparently realising that she was becoming harder to see in the cloud emanating from her fellow passenger. Even worse (I still shudder when I think of it), when yer man got up in Terenure to leave the bus (a cloud of noxious fumes making everyone he passed cough wretchedly), the girl stood up and flopped gratefully into the window seat he had just vacated.

Maybe she had an appointment with an ear nose and throat doctor.

On the 76 the other evening a small family of husband, wife and daughter got on board. The husband, God be good to him, smelled like a cross between a rotten potato and a dead mouse. I swear I held my breath for 40 minutes. I never prayed as much in the past ten years as I did over that journey, asking the Lord to make the next bus stop the one this guy was going to. Finally, in Firhouse, three stops before I was going to bale out, they all departed. I doubt it was to take a bath.

What struck me about these two men was that they were both reasonably, if casually well-dressed. Their hair was shorn very short. From upwind, one would imagine they were quite careful in their hygiene habits.

Obversely (and quite amusing to me) a heavy metal fan got on the bus one afternoon when I was travelling. He had the obligatory black gear on and the long hair and a beard, and you could tell that despite the carefully-fostered "dirty" rebellious look that he had Timoteied and Lynxed most carefully before setting out. His beard was shaggy but clean. His hair was sun-lightened and silky.

Not everyone has heard of the uses of a bar of soap, it seems. Or are there medical conditions out there I've not heard of which reproduce the spud-mouse rot odour? If there's a fund for research I'll send them money.


Angharod said...

I flew to NYC behind one of yer odorous gents, or perhaps both...additionally, at least one of 'em was flatulent for the entire flight.

Was never so happy to walk out into the smoggy city air in my life.

Willie_W said...

And you can't exactly open a window on a plane either.