Thursday, April 03, 2008

No way to escape the smell

BART trains were 10 minutes late today, causing huge lines at each station. As expected, trains were beyond maximum capacity, with people tip-toeing to fit themselves on the other side of the door. It was uncomfortably crowded....you definitely can smell the shampoo used by the person next to you...if you're lucky that is (since you can be smelling worse things!)

At MacArthur, as everyone impossibly squeezed themselves onto the train, in walks a homeless man! To be blunt, he stunk. His clothes were filthy and torn, his hair was knotted all around, and his skin had blemishes, scratches, and dried patches of skin ALL over. It was obvious he hadn't had the chance to shower in a LONG time, and to make things worse, he was carrying a trashbag full of his belongings ranging from leftover scraps of food, cans, newspapers, to a few shirts.

There was already lack of air in the trains and once he came in, the smell penetrated immediately. It was tough to breath. His scent dominated the entire train. All of us were trying to stop breathing...you can just tell.

I couldn't take it. At the first Oakland downtown station, I walked out and changed a train. A few others followed me and re-entered the train a few doors down. We all sighed with relief and took in a deep breath of fresh air...well, as fresh it BART train air is.

It seemed like the longest 3 minutes ever (from MacArthur to Downtown Oakland). You want to run, but have no where to go since it is so crowded.

4 comments:

SongMonk said...

At least he wasn't pressed up next to you!

Anonymous said...

This happened to me a few years back on AC Transit's 51 bus. There was a sort of strange smell at the bus stop, but I figured something had died in the gutter. Turned out, it was the homeless man who was also waiting for the bus.

It was cool day, but the smell was incredible, dense and penetrating. Within a block, every window on the bus was open and the driver was driving with his head out the window. A woman, trying to be polite, had sat down near him (everyone else was huddled towards the back), but within 2 blocks the smell broke her and she stumbled to the back, eyes tearing. 2 blocks was also the next bus stop (Oakland Tech), and almost everyone literally fled from the bus. Although it was the end of the school day and there was a huge crowd of waiting Oakland Tech students, none got on. I stuck around until I got to downtown Oakland, but...wow.

Anonymous said...

asian

Laura said...

I DO NOT understand why these trains do not have windows to open. Most of the subway trains and RER trains in Paris have windows to open during situations like you described...