The smell


Coming back to Brooklyn after a ten day temporary relocation to Kuala Lumpur was interesting. The 12-hour difference in time and 26-hour travel kind of killed any sense my body had of sleep and rythm, with the effect that I woke up at 11.30pm Sunday night, and had to do something until it was time to go to work.

After suggestions from anyone else in the world online and willing to advise on my predicament, a walk seemed to be a good idea. And it was. No matter where you are in New York, a 24-hour deli with coffee can be found. Sipping coffee in a park, listening to nocturnal creatures chirping in sync with traffic lights blinking was very nice. But one factor put a smear on this poetic moment: The smell.

I’ve read about it, I’ve heard about it, and now smelled it. August street trash. Walking ten blocks, I found four piles of putrid trash, some by themselves, some still covered by black bags. The smell emitting from these piles seemed to cover the entire neighbourhood, and having just showered felt less of a bliss, as I felt the stench fly to the fibres of my skin, hair and clothes.

Incidentally, the only other people roaming the streets were trash collectors in their big trucks, and as always I’m in awe of these heroes, whom without our society would be impossible, but seeing them tonight, working in this hellish environment, I’m lost for words.

For people who have lived here longer than I have: How long will this go on?

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3 Responses to “The smell”

  1. Leila Darabi Says:

    Welcome back! Hopefully the fact that real New York summer began kind of late this year doesn’t mean it will last extra long.

  2. Rachel Jacobson Says:

    Back in the ’70s when my parents lived in Brooklyn, the trash collectors went on strike. Needless to say the city quickly met their demands.

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