|No caption necessary, just gross.|
My gut reaction to the question of why I don’t sit on public benches in NYC is perhaps the most visceral of reactions. The simple answer is, well, because that would just be ridiculous. The more complicated answer is you guessed it, another wonderful Kinda OCD tale.
It all stems back to one day when I was walking through Central Park with my mom and brother who were in town visiting. We stopped to watch a man on the sidewalk who was creating these AMAZING spray paintings. OCD sidebar: I loved the paintings and wanted to buy one, but there was no way I was going to buy something that had touched a New York city street corner …. I would never be able to look at it the same way. And I imagine spray paintings and Lysol wipes don’t mix.
While admiring the man’s masterpieces, all of the sudden my mom gasped in horror and pointed to a man who was sitting on a bench in the park. It took a few seconds for me to digest what my eyes were taking in, especially since my belly was preoccupied with digesting the Carmine’s penne alla vodka I had just devoured (and they allege that pasta is family sized portions …. ha).
Sitting on a bench on the edge of the park was a man who proceeded to clean himself with the dirtiest washcloth I had ever seen. He was clearly trying to give the street artist a run for his money for the best show in town. Dirty Shower McGee slowly motioned the rag in and out of his nether regions, and while his soiled clothes thankfully masked most of his hands’ excursions, the damage was already done.
I have a photographic memory which is truly a blessing and a curse. It served me well for spelling tests as a young lass in elementary school, but as far as my NYC days go, there is a lot I wish I could wipe out of my mind, and this image is definitely in the top 5. Watching this man’s “shower,” where no body part was off limits, I thought of that episode of friends where Phoebe sees Monica and Chandler making out from Ross’ apartment, and like her I found myself shouting, “MY EYES!”
Now my mom, brother and I kept walking, and were able to move on from this incident semi-unscathed, but I couldn’t help but think of the next person who would sit on that bench, not knowing the bench’s sordid past. Would it be a young child who decided to put their mouth on the bench …. gross. Or would it be a couple who decided to soak up the sun while enjoying a delightful day together. News flash: the sun isn’t the only thing you’re soaking up on that bench today Romeo and Juliet!
This is why I don’t sit on public benches. Nowhere, no how. If I’m out with my friends and they want to sit, I will proudly stand awkwardly beside them instead. And don’t even get me started on benches in the subway. Consider those benches an exponential heck to the no in my Kinda OCD world. I literally wouldn’t sit on one for one million dollars. That’s right, one million dollars (insert Austin Powers pinky gesture here). Sitting on one of those things is like inviting every scum of the earth human excretion that ever existed to touch you. There’s a reason homeless people set up shop on those benches, and it’s not because they’re clean.
I mean, have you ever REALLY looked at those benches? That wet mark, yeah that’s not water, that’s urine. And sure, that red goo could be juice but wrong again, that’s blood! Every bench in NYC should have a sign on it stating “Sit at your Own Risk” …. or at the very least “This is Not a Shower!”