As many of you may already know, I’ve allowed my life’s wonderful choices to land me at the mercy of public transportation. Not to mention lugging a bike around when the distance is too far to walk. It’s a pretty unglamorous life. Some days, I handle it like a champ. Other days, I give myself the sort of ass-kicking that parents take notes to. This morning was a beautiful blend of both.
I have the choice of two routes on my way to work every morning. There is only about a 2 minute difference, but the longer route is cushioned by layers of houses between me and the population of people who have the privilege of driving to work. When I’m grumpy, that is the route I choose. Yesterday, I was grumpy, so I dragged my ass the “long way” to work.
When I reached about 3/4 of the way to work, I was suddenly blindsided by the most awful smell you could ever imagine. It was equivalent to the stench of stockyards or a zoo, but as if there were a sewage leak near and the sewage and animal shit fused together and formed a sort of super shit. I pulled my shirt above my nose but still had to stop riding every twenty feet or so from my gagging. For a flicker of a moment, I considered there might be dead animals or even dead bodies piled in the ditch near me. To make it worse, that particular patch of area is flat, so the wind blew the odor right in to my face.
This morning, a bit more chipper and happy with my music selection (it makes a big difference when riding down crowded streets), I was glad to avoid the long route, not even daring to test my luck with the stench. However, as soon as I got to the intersection of the main road, I was greeted by the smell again. It was actually worse than it had been the day before. My eyes began to water immediately and I could taste the smell on my tongue and that’s when I saw it; in the corn field right along the road, mounds and mounds and mounds of manure. There were at least 15-20 little hills of it, all stacked neatly about 12 feet from the sidewalk. I have never wanted to end my life more than I did at the exact moment. But don’t worry, my life isn’t that easy and that’s not the worst of if, oh no, at the precise moment I decided to pedal as fast as I could past it all, some higher power decided to bathe in disaster that is my life and give me a flat tire. Yes, a flat tire. So not only was I less than twenty feet from piles of animal shit, I had to walk half a mile along it’s path. HALF A MILE. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW TERRIBLE IT SMELLED?
A bag of manure, sure, no problem.
One-hundred bags of manure? Sure, smells bad but tolerable.
Tons, literally TONS of manure? I ask again, do you have any idea how terrible it smelled? It also created a wall for the breeze of traffic zooming by, so not only were my nostrils filled with the aroma, I also enjoyed the ricocheting breeze off of a wall of shit, an actual wall of shit. And to anyone who’s ever walked a bike, you know that walking it one-handed is more difficult than it should be. I had to push my head down in to my shirt and walk like a fucking crazy person past a dozen piles of poop right next to a high-traffic road. It was literally a walk of shame.
The thing is, though, as uncharming and unexciting as my life is, it is full of miserable and embarrassing moments such as these. I’ve basically become desensitized by it to the extent that my first reaction is to write about it rather than get angry. And because I’m not adventurous or naturally funny, I feel I should make up for it by being able to openly criticize my plight with satire. I have mastered self-depreciation right before it beckons sympathy. I have conquered the art of letting people laugh at my failures without feeling sorry for me and it is wonderful, shameless place to live in.
And just in case you don’t believe me: