From the stench that wafts from bums; something wicked this way comes

My fast morning story –

In the 1990s my husband and I would often take an overnight trip to Bisbee, AZ – and in lieu of driving one of near-to-dying-cars, we opted for a ride on Greyhound. This also allowed for a bit of drinking without the worry of driving.  The only drawback of a bus ride from Tucson to Bisbee is the number of stops that have to be made along the way. Normally, I’d be fine with it… but not on this particular bus ride.

We boarding the bus in Bisbee – possibly a little tipsy and partially hung over from the previous day. So everything is a mixture of hilarious and/or slightly nauseating (for me anyway).   Scott and I sit in our seats waiting for the fun to begin, and know it’s July and extremely HOT out.  We drive to Sierra Vista/Ft. Hauchuca and pick up a ton of people.  We have to wait for about 15 minutes before the bus is scheduled to start moving again.

Then it happens…

A stench comes wafting out the bathroom…viscous and raw.  It fills the entire bus. And I feel really bad for whoever is in there because you know they are experiencing some horrible intestinal distress.  And I think to myself, I’d like to be able to just slink out and die peacefully if that was me in the bus bathroom.  We are all trying to not gag (and some of us trying to not laugh… maybe me…maybe my husband…maybe because we’re a little drunk and poop is funny).  The smell actually gets worse rather than dissipates and the bus driver has opened the front doors – he looks decidedly pissed.  He’s got a Lysol can in his hand – and I figure he’s going to make a trip to the bathroom and spray. But no – when the poor guy (a little old Asian man) steps out of the bathroom, the bus driver (cruelly) calls him up to the front. The guy looks horrified and has blanched to a waxy white.  He slowly walks up, all passengers looking on in slight anticipation for what might possibly be happening to this guy… the bus driver hands him the can and makes him go spray the bathroom.  I’m pretty sure, if I was that guy – I’d have just broken down and died. That walk back down the aisle was probably the longest walk of this guy’s entire life. We all looked away, feeling sad for him.  Well, some of us (us being Scott & I) might have been trying to suppress insane giggles – you know the ones that are totally inappropriate so they grow uncontrollable?  Yes, those kinds of giggles.

The bus driver closes the doors and starts the bus – thank god for the A/C – I have my mouth and nose pressed right up to the air vent by the window…and all of a sudden I breathe in a mouthful of freakin’ LYSOL. The bus driver had another can that he SPRAYED in the air vents. I almost added to the stench by vomiting right there…but I didn’t – now the entire bus smells like Lysol and sewage – which I think was MUCH, MUCH, MUCH worse.

We start on our way – with another stop in St. David – then to home. The entire trip was horribly stenchy. There’s no other word for it. I couldn’t wait to get off that bus – the smell of downtown bus station in July in Tucson was a 100% improvement. THAT’S HOW BAD IT SMELLED. And for me to say that, it’s pretty bad – I can withstand some pretty stenchy stuff – but not that.

Never that, never again.

And now for some Violent Femmes

About Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher

I'm a research librarian for Public Television, story teller, bike commuter, baker, music fiend, lover of reading & books, mother, wife, friend - and many more descriptive adjectives and nouns.
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66 Responses to From the stench that wafts from bums; something wicked this way comes

  1. It’s like when you visit residential homes for the elderly and at first all you smell is the air freshener (which is super-strong and knocks you out) and then you smell the underneath smells caused by bodies which are elderly and therefore giving up… One or the other, I can deal with, but not both.

  2. unfetteredbs says:

    That poor little man. I think I would have vomited…

  3. Elyse says:

    Perhaps you should be doing PR for Greyhound. Or Lysol!

  4. Awww, that poor guy! How embarrassing!

    I love the Violent Femmes. Thanks for reminding me. 🙂

  5. Soapmouth says:

    That was very funny hahaha! Oh man…

  6. Booker says:

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  7. So many poop stories, so little time. The curse of a blogger :-).

  8. jlheuer says:

    Phew! What brought this story from yesteryear to mind that you had to share?

  9. stephrogers says:

    Urgh. Public transport. I hate public transport. Actually, I correct myself, I hate public in general.

  10. Andrew says:

    I don’t know what was more brutal. What you guys had to endure, or what he had to. I remember I was on a flight, and this lady waited until we landed to take a horrible, horrible #2. She couldn’t wait 3 minutes to just get off the plane. Instead we all had to sit in it. That lady was a jerk.

  11. Mrs. P says:

    I feel so sorry for that poor little Asian man…how humiliating! By the sounds of those giggles, I could swear your were doin’ a little smokin’ with your drinkin’. He…he…hee, hee…ahh ha ha…bwahaha…snort….bwahaha!!

    I took a Greyhound from Oklahoma City to Arlington VA. The bus broke down TWICE and they had to send for a new one TWICE. It took me over two days to get there…never again!

  12. rossmurray1 says:

    In my experience, air “freshener” only makes things worse.

  13. Amy Reese says:

    Oh, so horrible! Stenchy yuck. Even the word stenchy is bad. Poor everybody, but I probably feel the worst for the poor Asian guy. The longest walk ever. I would just throw myself out the window! Can you laugh about this…or no?

  14. You know I loves me a good poop story! I’m much less squeamish about pooping than I used to be. I think having kids helped with that. But I consider myself fortunate to have had 2 c-sections so that I didn’t have to poop while giving birth. 🙂

  15. Paul says:

    I empathize with the little Asian man. I have a colostomy left over from colon cancer. There are times when the aroma when emptying it is overwhelming. If I have to take a long ride with others, I’ll just not eat the day before – it’s pretty much the only way to be safe. I’m careful what types of washrooms I use – single units with great fans separated from main area (be it sales floor, office or whatever) is best. I have been called many names publically and embarrassed more times than I can count over the years. It is not possible to control when the colostomy needs to emptied and very little control over the aroma. The worst of it is that the operation has damaged my colon and I am more suseptible to intestinal bugs , which makes it all worse. I don’t go out in public much anymore. It’s just easier that way.

  16. Twindaddy says:

    Yikes….I’ve never been on a trip like that so thankfully I can not relate.

  17. Carrie Rubin says:

    Ha, talk about a title to lure people in! And your funny story matched that magnificent title. How gross but how sad for that poor man. I’m sure it was horrible, but it all comes down to empathy–would that bus driver want someone to force him to make that Lysol walk of shame? Or at least he could’ve done it more kindly, perhaps with a joke to unleash the elephant in the room. Then again, I am overly sensitive to smells, so I’m sure it was horrible for everyone involved. Which essentially makes the perfect fodder for blog posts. 🙂

  18. Bisbee! Why Bisbee? I was in PHX for 18 months. Too hot. Too, too hot. But Tucson is nice. Prettier.

    If I had been called out by the driver in front of everybody like that, maybe I would have Lysoled his stupid face.

    I kind of wish your power of description weren’t so well-honed. Wish your writing a bit duller.

  19. Robin says:

    What a horrible situation…funny how so many awful ones come from rides on public transportation. So feel for that guy but also thankful it’s not me!!

  20. NotAPunkRocker says:

    Yikes! I am considering letting the kidlet ride the bus to Tennessee over spring break. Part of me now says no and part of me thinks it would teach him to think twice about polluting the air in my car when we go on road trips.

  21. El Guapo says:

    On the other hand, I bet every other bus ride has seemed pleasant by comparison.
    At least…I hope it has!

  22. I read that whole post with my nose scrunched up in yuckiness, from the title to the end. I can’t stand bad smells. And whenever there’s a bad smell, I always hear that little voice in my head that says “Smells are little particles of the thing itself going up your nose” which really doesn’t help!

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