Yesterday was crazy day on 14th Street. Erin and I went walking down on the Mall, and walked up 14th to get home. Now, 14th always has a number of homeless people. I run the stairs at the church on Thomas Circle, and early evening people start staking out their space for the night. Sometimes I leave, and sometimes I ask people if it will bother them if I run up and down. I know it'd bug me to have some sweaty stranger popping up to run around a column next to my bed every other minute.
Anyway, back to the crazies. We'd been walking, discussing our lives, which lately always includes relationship speculation and some degree of me being upset. And so we walked along, and I was trying not to snivel. I was very in my head and feeling sorry for myself when this overpowering stench arrived. We were stopped for a light, and a man ambled by. The smell of urine preceded him by two feet, knocked both of us to the ground, and lingered till the light finally, finally changed. Astounding.
Further north on 14th, there were several seemingly homeless people per block. Some were yellers. "You're not that powerful! You look strong, but you're not powerful! You're not that powerful!" We couldn't tell if Powerful Man was yelling at us, or through us. He wasn't threatening, just agitated. Erin said "Wow, 14th St. is crazy central today."
We cut over to 16th, where a couple walked by discussing parking. "Parking in this neighborhood is just Hell on earth." the man said. Erin looked at me and said "Well, at least none of us smell like urine."
Which was so funny, and so not. My issues of the walk: The guy I want to be with doesn't want to be with me. My back hurts. I have a job but not a career. I might die alone because, as I have mentioned before, I am not a Will Ferreller.
My issues are not where I am going to sleep or I am certifiably crazy but social services isn't taking care of me or I have been wearing, and urinating in, the same outfit for weeks.
And so when, as I am wont to do, I awoke at 5:30 am to work myself into a frenzy about the state of my life, I said, "Stop it stop it stop it. You have a comfy bed in a warm, comfy place. You have family. You have a job. And you don't smell like urine." You don't smell like urine. This has been my refrain of the day. And I just got an email from Erin, updating me on her Monday, and ending with, "At least I don't smell like urine."
I accidentally said this to one of my coworkers who was complaining about something. It's not an easy thing to explain.