Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Last weekend, I was assaulted. It left me paranoid and disgusted. And having a greater appreciation for baths.

I boarded a bus to DC very early Saturday morning. One of my Hampton gems is having a baby. So after over a decade since the seven of us were all in the same room (collective head hanging shame), we hopped on planes, buses (well technically just one bus since I'm the only one who arrived that way), trains (who knew Pentagon and Pentagon City were NOT the same stop in the DC Metro system?? lol), and automobiles to be there for her baby shower. I could have left Friday night but I waited until the last minute to make her gift - a personalized frame and gift basket. And early Saturday morning seemed like a less stressful trip than Friday afternoon. Have you seen NY/NJ/MD/DC traffic?? (yes I realize I left out Delaware but seriously, its like 3 seconds long - you blink and its "Welcome to Maryland"). Also, I figured the 7:30 am bus would be empty so I'd be able to stretch out and sleep. WRONNNNNNNNGGGGG!!!

When I first boarded the bus, my dreams of 2 seat slumber seemed to be a reality. Like Ms. Badu, I took the window seat and didn't want nobody next to meeeee. I placed my large gift bag in the seat next to me and everyone kept moving further back on the bus. Just as the bus driver was about to pull away from the midtown street, she surveyed the empty seats, opened the door, and asked if anyone waiting for the next bus to DC wanted to catch the earlier bus. Of course they obliged. And there went my 2 seat slumber dream. I stuffed my gift bag under my seat and almost immediately this young-ish African dude plops down next to me. And he smiles. And I....I roll my eyes. I was in no moody to be friendly. I wanted to sleep damnit!!! Once he settled in, he turned to me and asked "Do you have change of a twenty?" to which I responded with a curt "NO!" which had all the attitude of a "HAYELLLLLL NOOOO!!" And let me tell you why.

First of all, for this particular bus company, all tickets are prepurchased online with a credit or debit card so there is no need for cash for the next 4 hours. Secondly, I'm not reaching into my purse to retrieve money with a damn stranger sitting that close to me when I plan on falling asleep in the next 10 minutes. What kind of BooBoo the fool does this assclown take me for? Lastly, and most importantly, when he exhaled on the word 'twenty', I SWEAH my eyebrows and eyelashes were singed off. Seriously, I was stunned into a state of hot garbage shock. Not knowing what to do, I turned to Twitter:

"Great! This mofo sitting next to me not only wants to chat but his breath smells like garbage. I need to click my heels 3x and be in DC NOW"

Once I vented in 140 characters or less, I did reach in my purse. For my iPod. And let my music be the soundtrack for the scenery rolling by outside my window as I breathed the air straight from the air conditioning vent to clear my nostrils.

Then, it happened. My iPod slipped from my lap and fell between the seat. As he repositioned his body to retrieve it for me without uttering a word, that's when it hit me. It wasn't just his breath. Every pore, every fiber of his being smelled. BAD. Like weapon of mass destruction bad. Remember this scene from Beetlejuice (1:50 mark):

Yeah that bad. I immediately let out an "Oh damn!" and stood up in my seat. I looked around. The bus was packed. No empty seat - even the seat next to the bathroom was taken which would have been a first class upgrade compared to the seat I was currently sitting in. I was stuck next to this smelly mother fucker for the next 3 hours and 45 minutes. I had no choice but to turn my body completely towards the window, put my head down next to the air conditioning vent and go to sleep. Eventually the cold air, and the gentle bounce of the bus rocked my tired ass to sleep. And it was a good sleep too, dreaming of every lovely sweet smell I could imagine. At some point I must have turned my head in the direction of Stench because I was jolted out of my seat like my alarm clock went off.

This fool is sitting in his seat on his phone with his right arm up over his head like he is lounging in his living room, and just like that scene in Beetlejuice my head felt like it was gonna shrink. I let out a very disgruntled "Oh COME ON!!!" and repositioned myself to breath the processed air conditioning air. And couldn't go back to sleep. DAMNIT

I had time to analyze this nasal assault. I theorized that it was 2 parts hot shit, 1 part no soap, and 1/2 part locker room funk, 1/2 part public housing staircase with a background note of sanitation truck. Yeah it was THAT BAD!! Funny thing, if he was perfectly still I couldn't smell a thing. But the minute Stench moved a centimeter, I damn near threw up in my mouth. I don't even want to make the generalization that because he was African, he stank. This stench went waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyy beyond the lack of deodorant. which may or may not be a cultural thing (I'm not even touching that topic). And its not like he looked like he stank, just like most serial killers don't "look" like a serial killer. Seriously, does this look like someone who's funk is off the stink charts??

(Yes I took his picture while he was sleeping. This was one of those still moments when I could inhale without fear of an olfactory attack. Don't judge me! LOL And he woke up not too long after this picture was taken, he woke up and assaulted my nasal cavity yet again! )

With about 45 minutes left in this ride of smell hell, the unthinkable happened. When I didn't think this ride could get any worse, he turned to me, smiled and said:

How can I get to know you better?

To which I replied (louder than I thought):
You can't. Listen, you stink.

And everyone around me gasped. Like I was the bad person. Sure, that may not have been the most polite, ladylike way of handling things but I'd already endured a little over 3 hours of the stench of the belly of the beast. Manners went out the window somewhere along the Jersey Turnpike. By that point, I was angry that I had to endure this abuse, I was paranoid (I swear I kept smelling myself for hours after getting off the bus). It was so bad, I literally had tears in my eyes. And, I was trapped. So fuck common courtesy. I was in survival mode.

Stench was shocked that my response was so blunt. He grinned, looked the other way and didn't say another word to me for the rest of the ride. Thank God for small favors. I also kept my hand over my nose for the duration of the ride. Manners be damned.

Finally, FINALLY, the bus pulled into the lot in downtown DC. It took every pore, every fiber of my being to stop me from flipping that emergency exit switch on the ledge of my window. Doesn't this count as an emergency?? The assault needed to end sooner rather than later.

Once I gathered my bag from underneath the bus, I inhaled deeply. Like if I could have sucked in every ounce of air in a 2 block radius, trust me I would have. There's a Starbucks near the bus drop off site. I ducked in there and didn't buy a thing. I just smelled the bags of coffee on display. I know I probably looked like a mad woman but I read somewhere that some perfume counters keep fresh coffee beans on their counters to clear a customer's nasal memory so the perfume smells don't get muddled when they are smelling multiple fragrances. I needed to clear that smell out of my nose faster than a speeding bullet. And besides the line was too long and I had a baby shower to get to.

Luckily, God granted me a solo seat on the way home. I had a window seat with nobody next to meeeeeeeee. And it smelled like heaven.


rashad said...

Bravo! I'm glad you told him he stank all to be damned, because the very fact that he paraded his stinky ass on that bus, means that he had not been told that before. Or maybe he had been told but that was his ploy to get a solo seat..

http://chi2dc2nyc.wordpress.com/ said...

GURRRRL!!!! This was funny as HEY-YULL!!! But oh so true. Did you read my FB status yesterday? ooh child, PLEASE give me the permission to put this link on my page so I can have my friends laughing.... lol

£ said...

omg JANELLE. this whole story is TOO hilarious.

"how can i get to know you better?" why is it that the most undesirable people are the boldest?? I love your response though. LOL. classic.

this picture makes this post EPIC.

LovinMe4Me said...

This had me CRACKING UP!! The pic on the low while he was sleeping, the beetlejuice reference, CLASSIC!!

And your response, HOLLLLAARRR!! Yeah I know it probably was a bit harsh but clearly he wasn't aware of his funky sensation. Hopefully now he will start using that 4 letter word - SOAP!!


makeba said...

Ha this was nuts and you are nuts! And OMG I cannot believe you took his picture that is hilarious.