Living in NYC, you encounter a lot of homeless people. For those of you that read my blog post “My First NYC Boyfriend,” you now know the story of Eddie and me, but the beauty of NYC is that there will always be another homeless person on every street corner …. they’re almost like Starbucks in that sense.
This story, my friends, is of the first homeless woman I met. I don’t know her name so for the purposes of this tale we shall call her ‘homeless lady.’
I had been living in my new apartment for awhile when homeless lady showed up. I thought I had left the worst of the stoop squatters when I broke it off with Eddie, but alas, it was just a matter of time before Starbucks opened up a new location aka a homeless person decided to set up shop on my stoop.
Homeless lady was not as hostile as Eddie and in another life, perhaps she and I could have been friends. Homeless lady enjoyed day drinking, I enjoy day drinking. Homeless lady wore sweatpants all day, I practically live in those things on the weekend. Our differences became apparent though the day I saw a trail of urine originating from under those sweat pants …. gross.
One especially hot summer day, I was leaving my apartment and homeless lady was of course sitting on my stoop. She had my Wall Street Journal tucked under her urine sweat pants and was enjoying a morning cup o’ Coors Light (#jealous).
If there’s one thing I've learned about NYC living, it’s that stoops are ridiculously small. All Manhattan builders should be required to add a few extra feet to stoops to account for the homeless factor. Where there is a stoop, there shall be a homeless …. it’s the law of NYC physics.
When I went to open the door to my building that day, I was greeted with the sweet scent of Coors Light tinged with a hint of hot, baked urine …. seriously, why do I live in NYC? I pretty much ask myself this every day, multiple times a day.
I politely asked homeless lady to move so I could leave my building. While waiting for a response, I had to quietly accept the fact that even when she did move, I would inevitably need to step in her urine in order to start my day. NYC living is seriously gross.
Me: “Excuse me, can you please move?”
Homeless Lady: (grunts)
Me: “Homeless lady, I cannot get around you, you need to move please!”
At that point homeless lady hazily looked back at me and shot me a dirty dagger look and then went on drinking out of her brown paper bag. Why did this kind of thing always happen to me? I don’t get it. Couldn't she have waited to start boozin’ til 9am like a respectable homeless person? Jeez Louise!
Realizing that I had no other option I decided once again to utilize my Gail Devers’ hurdle skills to traverse a homeless person …. but this time with a few alterations. Due to the angle of homeless lady and the curvature of my stoop, I was going to need to contort my body Cirque du Soleil style. I mean, I've seen Wintuk multiple times, how hard could it be? I clung onto my Longchamp and started my maneuvering, deftly placing my hands and feet on what looked to be the cleanest parts of the stoop. Tippy toe here, body finagling there … eeks turns out not …. so …. easy!
Thinking I was nearly in the clear, I went to take my last step and that’s when it happened. Suddenly it wasn't just my Wall Street Journal tucked under those sweatpants … my flip flop was also now a resident of 1 Urine Sweatpants Way …. AHHHHHH!
I suddenly had an internal struggle: issue a MAN DOWN order and leave the flip flop there forever or get it and never be able to look at it the same way. Unfortunately for me, that was my favorite pair of flip flops so I decided to go back in GI Jane style for Mr. Flip Flop so he wasn't in the blast zone aka the next trail of urine (which would likely be coming soon, I mean homeless lady was drinking Coors Light after all.) While all of this was going on, homeless lady continued to sit in her drunken haze and seem unfazed by the fact that I was having a nervous breakdown right in front of her. Ignorance truly is bliss.
With the 5 second rule firmly on my mind I knew I needed to be quick in my rescue attempt. My naked foot was also freaking out because it had nowhere to go but onto the NYC streets. I couldn't decide which was the lesser of two evils.
There was no more time for contemplating, I needed to take action. My foot darted in and found its way into the forsaken flip flop. But my excitement was quickly quelled by the realization that my foot had not only touched the NYC streets but had also touched homeless lady’s urine pants.
Whenever I have these earth shattering OCD revelations, I find myself starting to sweat. To be fair, it was also like 100 degrees that day. The beads formed like wildfire with every filthy thought I had.
OCD thoughts: “My foot touched homeless lady’s urine …. (bead of sweat forms) …. My foot touched the NYC street that probably has 50 other homeless people’s urine …. (drip) …. My flip flop was literally UNDER homeless lady …. (drip) …. WHY IS IT SO HOT …. (drip) …. Should I just throw out these flip flops …. (drip) …. Maybe I should, but then what would I walk to work in?! …. (drip) …. In order to go back inside to get another pair of shoes I would have to traverse homeless lady again …. (drip, drip, drip, drip)”
At this point I was sweaty and light headed and practically delusional. At one point, I thought about asking homeless lady for a quick swig of her Coors Light to help calm my nerves …. delusional and dirty were the least of my problems, I clearly needed to get to work ASAP before I really lost it.
My walk to work was abysmal and by the time I got there, I was sweating and blabbering about Cirque du Soleil, Coors Light and homeless lady (wouldn't you just love to be one of my coworkers J). When I finally sat down at my desk, I couldn't stop thinking about how dirty my foot and flip flop were. There is no way I could sit through the next 9 hours in my current condition. I knew I had only one option …. I had to Lysol wipe my foot. That’s right, I went there. I’m pretty sure Lysol wipes aren't approved for skin usage, but I didn't care. I grabbed those lemony fresh wipes and went to town on my tootsies! I wiped and I wiped and I cleaned that urine off of every inch of my foot and flip flop. 10 wipes later, I felt satisfied that I was urine free. People who sat around me were looking at me like I was a spectacle of crazy …. and you know what, I was. In this instance I dismissed the judgment because only I knew what my foot and flip flop had seen that fateful morning. If only others could have heard the story of homeless lady, they would understand.
While I am not proud of my Lysol incident, it got me through the rest of the day. The only awkwardness I felt was when someone would comment on the lemony scent in the office that day.
Me: “HAHAHAHA, it almost smells like someone Lysol wiped themselves. But I mean, who would do that?!”
Insert awkward laugh here.