Thursday, May 31, 2012

public transport, personal hygiene

I have a very sensitive sense of smell and I sometimes think I can see germs in the air after someone coughs. Preposterous, right? I may be a little obsessive compulsive, so bear with me.

If you wash regularly (complying with water restrictions of course) then I salute you. If, on the other hand, you prefer bathing less frequently, or less thoroughly than the rest of us, keep your arms by your sides and try not to lean on me on the tram.

Personal hygiene is just that: it's personal!

Unfortunately though, on crowded public transport and in the workplace, personal hygiene becomes a little more of a public problem.

I catch the tram to and from work every day. Most of the time it is standing room only, so I tend to spend a lot of time a lot closer to people than would normally be acceptable with complete strangers in public. Most people are neutral, making no impression on my senses at all. Some leave a visual impression with their hair, physique, dress sense etc. Some make an aural impression, with loud conversations, snoring, tinny music coming from their headphones etc.

The ones who leave the strongest impression, for me anyway, are the ones who smell.

You can tell a lot about a person't attitude to life by their smell. Adults heading off to work who smell of BO and halitosis clearly don't care about themselves, their job or the people around them.

The ones who smell great make me think they have a big day: an interview, a big presentation, a lunch date etc.

Teenagers are in a class of their own. They have so much going on, deodorant is unfortunately often the last thing on their minds. Those woolen winter uniforms just exacerbate the problem. It doesn't mean they are dirty, it's just body chemistry and pre-occupation.

Uni students, other than the all night online gamers, seem to take the longest to get ready in the mornings. They smell neutral or of soap and they are certainly the most immaculately dressed on the tram, whether it is a grunge uniform, a hipster uniform or overseas student chic, they tend to be clean, as if they were on the way to a date.
I've just read through this ramble a couple of times, and I feel I may have a problem, but my nose doesn't lie. If you smell, I apologise if I have offended you!

1 comment:

James Smith said...

I don't feel quite so insane now! I'm not the only one concerned about, and noticing personal hygiene issues in public by a long shot.