This is about adding insult to injury. Taking a taxi in Manhattan requires taking out a second mortgage on your house. If you had a house, which you don’t, because you live in Manhattan. Anyway, it’s pricey and will rattle your teeth and probably scare the bejesus out of you for good measure. So, what you don’t need is to have to smell something foul while contending with all that.
After waiting like a good New Yorker fifteen minutes for the 79th Street crosstown bus, in the subfreezing temp, I gave in to the inevitable and hailed a cab. I was meeting a friend on the East Side (I’d gotten my visa and all my papers were in order) and now, instead of being pleasantly early, I was running late. Which I hate.
Once inside the taxi, I took my first breath of other-than-icy air. Phew! It stunk! And holding my breath for the next ten to fifteen minutes didn’t seem like a really viable option. Where are the barf bags when you need them? If it had been even 40 degrees, I would have opened the windows and hung out like a dog.
I feel that body odor is a form of covert hostility. Don’t you? I was an imprisoned recipient of the driver’s aggressive stench. And there was absolutely nothing to do about it. Back in the day (1800’s?) women would have a perfumed hankie tucked in their wrist which they could press to their nose to help manage their contact with the fumes abounding in the great unwashed world. I wished for that hankie, but had to settle for sniffing the inside of my scarf and taking these furious notes.
Because I’m a congenital coward, I gave Mr. Stinky a tip. I just don’t want to make waves, especially when they are so noxious.
And here’s a weird post script. By the time I reached my destination I had begun to “adjust” to the smell. I remembered something an old friend, Dr. Jane, had told me. (She went back to school/Med. school after I had worked with her at a healthcare company – and actually became a doctor. She was full of scientific facts.) We adapt to our olfactory environment. And, when you get older, your feet don’t smell. (That was just an extra bit of wisdom. No extra charge.)