My worst moments of subway ridership involve the times that a homeless person in the saddest stages of humanity pass by me. It is heartbreaking to see people in such base conditions. The smell of people who have gone without basic care for a long time is overpowering. Even after the person passes, the smell of rotting peaches, rancid garbage, and decaying small rodents clings to the air for a long time. It is really the worst stench I have ever encountered, and that it comes from a fellow human always upsets me. Until today. I was at the gym this evening, running on the treadmill. It's been more than a week since my last run, which was the half marathon. I was excited and nervous to get back to it. Would I have lost my stamina? Could I handle running again?

Everything was going great. I was about 1/2 mile into my planned 1.5 miles and feeling comfortable running a ten minute per mile pace. The movement was incredibly enjoyable, and I felt great to be running again. Then the smell permeated the air.

I looked around. What the fuck in my absurdly overpriced gym could be generating the odor of 10,000 rotten eggs mixed with vomit? I realized that it was the buff blond guy who just stepped onto the treadmill on the other side of the woman next to me. It blew my mind that someone who was otherwise in impeccable condition could emit such a foul smell. The woman next to me pretended that she didn't notice anything, but she got off the treadmill within two minutes and moved to other equipment.

I didn't want to end my run. On the other hand, it was really hard to breathe when all I inhaled made me gag. I decided to ramp it up, get to a mile as quickly as possible, and move to another machine on the other side of the gym.

The good thing about that was it led me to realize that I could run much faster than I thought. Once I was safely breathing clean air on the other side of the gym, I decided to go another mile, which I loved. But I'm curious what I will do if I ever see that guy again. Husband had been working out further away from him, and he smelled the man, too. I did feel bad for the guy, as probably there is something wrong with him that he would smell so god awful, but at the same time, I figure he has the resources to do something about it. It's a weird situation.

4 Comments