The id on the bus…

rant-small.jpgIf you live in New York, you develop radar that pings when Something Isn’t Right: when the crowd on the subway platform is too big, when the guy on the bench on the playground is looking too hard at the girls on the swings, when the little group that hangs out near the statue in Union Square starts talking a little too loud.

And we all know to swerve widely around the Ranters and the Shouters: you never can tell when Ranting will spill over into Wild Arm Swinging.

But what about those subtler NYC indignities: the subway crush, the zombie-like checkout clerk at Walgreens, the glacial crawl of cabs down 5th avenue at rush hour? Or–my personal favorite, now that I am a daily bus rider–the Woman With Stinky Perfume? Not stinky like powdery Aunt Tillie with her decades-old bottle of Shalimar. No, I’m talking headache inducing, get-inside-my-nose-and-stay-there-for-days type perfume, probably sold in ten-gallon drums.

Nothing to be done about Stinky Perfume Lady (SPL), usually, other than go home and try to wash out the inside of my nose, which generally fails because I start to snort and whuffle and realize that if I were ever waterboarded, I would pony up state secrets in a heartbeat.

Today, however, on my new home away from home, the 14D Bus, there was a collision between a Stinky Perfume Lady and a Ranter, and oh, my friends, it was delicious.

I smelled SPL but never saw her; her stench wafted far forward from where she was sitting and I started to calibrate whether I could get off the bus and still get to where I needed to go without being late.  Then booming through the bus, a voice:

Lady if you’re gonna wear perfume wear something good I’ve got a headache already and it’s only been two stops and I sure as hell hope you don’t have a family because you’re gonna kill them with that stuff it smells like damn gasoline!  You gotta get off this damn bus and air yourself out! Shit!

No one applauded but I wasn’t the only one smiling in satisfaction. That’s the thing about New York: in other cities, the id gets sublimated, repressed. Here? The id has a metrocard, just like the rest of us.

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5 Responses to The id on the bus…

  1. Jeanellen October 14, 2009 at 1:55 pm #

    “The id has a metrocard” – oh my, that is spit out my tea funny.

  2. Theresa October 14, 2009 at 3:43 pm #

    I haven’t had the perfume experience on the bus, but the other day there was someone who smelled of dirty diaper. The bus was standing room only, I saw no children/babies, and no one who looked like they didn’t have a shower to go home to.
    I also had a ranter rant on my behalf (to my embarrassment)- At 8 months preggers, usually someone gives me a seat, but this one time I had to walk all the way to the back before some one got up. And then he proceeded to loudly announce how ashamed all the folks at the front should be for making a pregnant lady walk to the back, for not giving up their seats.
    And I agree with the first commenter- “The id has a metrocard” is a seriously funny line.

  3. susanbw October 14, 2009 at 5:52 pm #

    Was the rant on the 14D anything like the time I “wore” the 10-year old Ann Taylor perfume (a gift from you)and you told me we had to drive with the windows open even though it was cold and raining because the sour and stinky scent was soooo bad???

  4. hcw October 14, 2009 at 6:07 pm #

    oh good christ that is funny! i had to start including a little “line” for potential babysitters about wearing no perfume. kinda hard to say, “you can wear perfume but just make sure it agrees with my nose.”

  5. Deborah October 14, 2009 at 7:53 pm #

    Uh, yes, SBW, that would be me ranting at you about your decades-old perfume. I’ve lived in NYC too long, I guess! But it was stinky…I was just trying to save you from yourself.

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