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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Tuesday Twat(s)

No. 44. Smelly People

This Twat Award is dedicated to the man who sat beside me on the bus today and to the gentleman who shops in my local Sainsbury but can be smelt as far away as Morrisons down the road.

There are individuals on this planet who seriously stink. I don't mean they need to eat a little less spicy food, or perhaps wear less cologne. I mean they smell of dead, rotting, festering shite. The idea for this Twat Award was triggered by an unfortunate encounter with two individuals within the last few days.

The first was on the bus to the sport centre. Now it has to be acknowledged that the centre does not lie in the most salubrious of neighbourhoods. Pretty much every house has a satellite dish on the wall. According to the Sanescientist law of spotting Chavvy neighbourhoods, the percentage of houses with satellite dishes is indirectly proportional to the income level of the area. This combined with the number of burberry-clad single Mums allows one to distinguish between merely low-income areas (which have more dishes) and areas that are full of Chavs. Chavs, as we know, attract other types of low-life, many of whom may be hygienically challenged. However, this was beyond that. It is hard to categorise this particular person's odour. If I was forced to describe it, I would classify it as predominantly dead wet dog, with overtones of stale puke and just a hint of festive pee. I wonder if he notices that even the most crowded pavements or buses magically part to let him by, or if he just puts this down to him being an undiscovered Neo locked in the Matrix, and that any minute now he will be forced to fight Agent Smiths armed cans of air freshner.

The second brought tears to my eyes and bile to my throat. He was pretty bad the first time I encountered him and - unlike a bottle of 2003 Jacobs Creek Shiraz Cabernet - he hasn't improved with age. The following has not been exagerated for comic effect. Seriously, he is that bad. He comes into the shop at about 10 pm (I often do my shopping then as I have just returned from work). Dressed in a stained grey overcoat with furry hood, he is about 60 with a matted grey beard and stringy, sticky looking hair. The smell hits you first. The till in this store is quite close to the door. When the door swooshes open, the smell literally gusts in. Stale piss, faeces and vomit are the least of the odours. His stale sweat appears to over-power both those smells if you can imagine that (actually try not to, conjuring up the memory just made my stomach flip). The security guard by the door, the tellers and the customers in line - as one - turn wretching. I am not exagerating. He strides in oblivious. Wandering up the aisle, he doesn't seem to notice that other customers are running out of the way. I genuinely thought that one girl was going to be sick, she was leaning against a shelf, breathing deeply, covering her nose with her hand. Thank god she wasn't because if there is one thing guaranteed to trigger me off, it is someone else revisiting their lunch. As he potters around the shop, you can see people debating with themselves - is it better to jump in the queue now and finish another day, or simply steer clear of him until he is done and then go to the till? Because nobody is getting in that queue with him, and when he joins people literally climb over the barrier to avoid him. You can feel the sympathy for the coralled checkout staff radiating from the customers. Nobody risks asking him if he has a loyalty card.

I suppose I feel angry actually. Not at him, but the social services or "carers" that are supposed to look after people like him. For him to have got in that state is not normal. He is plainly incapable of looking after himself. The customers and myself are not being rude, either. It is self preservation, pure and simple. If I get within 5 paces of him I will be sick. No question. So perhaps this Twat Award should not go to him, but social services - or our society as a whole - for caring so little that we let people get into that state.

That being said, the filthy little bastard in my first year at University, who turned up on day one in a suit and tie, but was forcibly stripped naked by his flatmates and shoved in the shower in december because things were moving in his hair, still gets one.




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