I hopped on the 9x this week on North Point, right after work. Though this bus stop is on the same corner as my building, I’ve never needed to take a bus from it. I suppose we won’t count the time I tried in vain to grab a crowded 9x heading north toward work; that’s another dear-diary moment altogether.
I do walk by it quite a bit, and it always smells like an olfactory one-two of food garbage and piss. There is a garbage can nearby, and it is a Muni shed; so, months ago, I stored it in the Obvious folder of my brain and called it a day.
But now, we’re talking about now. And, now, up-close and personal, this thing smells horrible. Awful. Shit-awful, almost, but piss-awful is more like it. I sat in the shed for a second, until that rancid, nostril-filling smell of urine hit my nose. At first, it just smelled like a somewhat-dingy public bathroom. Then it smelled like a Port-a-Potty. You know, those really bad ones at beer or wine festivals that you wouldn’t be caught dead in, had it not been for the gallon of liquid now floating about your insides.
What’s mildly (perhaps) interesting about this encounter is how I went about dealing with it. Being a curious sort (or a glutton for punishment, depending on how you look at it), I looked high and low for a fresh puddle. But everywhere I looked — the seat I was sitting on, under the seats, behind the shed — was clean as a whistle. I still think it’s weird that a bus shelter frequented by tourists, apartment dwellers and some office-workers nearby smelled like the 16th and Mission BART station, but there you have it, I guess.
Now, someone is going to have to tell me if you’ve had this related dilemma, which also presented itself today in Pee-Pee Shed. What would you rather do?
1) Stand in the wind, with a windbreaker fleece thing on, and feel the unrefreshing bite of San Francisco July whip you repeatedly in the face…without the urine.
2) Stay in the warm shelter of the shed, but constantly move about in search of a microclimate within that allowed for shade and proper breathing air.
The 9x came pretty quickly amid this dilemma, so I didn’t have to dwell on it for too long. Good thing, too, since I’d probably still be alternating between the wind and the piss (cool book title?) had it showed up late.
Tara Ramroop spends her days writing this, that and the other. She has never peed in a bus shelter, nor does she ever plan to. She, apparently, does look for urine puddles in bus shelters when she gets bored waiting for Muni.