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Thursday, May 12, 2005

 

Fucking Disgusting

For a long time, I had a fixed image in my mind of the most disgusting thing ever. That thing was this: When I first moved to Phoenix after college, I shared an apartment with a friend of a friend of my uncle's. I was poor and subsisted on a diet of $.99 Whoppers from the Burger King up the road, plus the occasional near-payday trip to the grocery store for cheap-but-filling bachelor chow, usually consisting of off-brand hotdogs, generic mac-n-cheese and the versatile potato. I could buy a bag of potatoes for two bucks and make four days of dinner from it. (Those Irish were onto something, weren't they?)

One time I bought the standard potato bag and didn't use it fast enough. Generally, potatoes have a great shelf-life and you only have to maybe peel off some of those tater tumors. But if you leave a potato in a warm, dark place for a long, long time, it goes beyond the eye-growing stage and right into decomposition.

So I'm standing in the kitchen, preparing to cook a delicious ABCo Brand Pot Pie and I get a whiff of something that makes my nose want to hide in the back of my skull. I open up a cabinet and the smell increases exponentially. I reach in to feel around for the source of the smell and my hand sinks a couple of inches into a putrefied potato. I don't think I puked, but that's probably only because I hadn't yet eaten the pot-pie.

I never bought a bag of potatoes again.

Nor did I ever see/smell/feel anything quite as disgusting again. Until we moved to the neighborhood where we currently live.

New York city--or, rather, Manhattan--doesn't have alleys. There are no small streets behind the buildings where garbage cans or dumpsters can be put. So most people have to take the garbage bags out of the cans and sit them on the curb. You walk down a New York street on any given day and there's a chance you'll see mountains of garbage bags piled in front of buildings. Schools do this, too.

And this is where the disgust comes in. Because schools are places where massive amounts of kids eat lunch. They don't eat everything, so there's always lots and lots of food that goes into the garbage. Nor do they drink everything, so the garbage bags are also often filled with half-empty cartons of milk.

In the trip between the school's garbage room (or wherever the hell the stuff sits inside) to the curb, the food tidbits and the milk kind of swirl around and form a sort of paste.

New York garbage men are not delicate creatures. They do not finesse the bags into the back of the truck. So there's a lot of tearing that goes on. With the tearing comes the leakage. The end result is that the school that's across the street from us very often has, smeared across the sidewalk and curb out front, big ol' puddles of sour milk & cafeteria food. It gets worse in warm weather, when the heat cooks this vomit-substitute and sends clouds of defiled dairy up to the heavens (or to apartments across the street...like ours).

What's worse is that my dogs, when I walk them past the school, seem to find the milk/food paste enticing. They occasionally grab a quick taste before I can pull them away. I think about that sometimes when they lick my face.

Anyway, I bring all this up because tonight there was an extra-large puddle of the this stuff in front of the store and it hit me that I now officially find this stuff more disgusting than the potatoes. The gross-out is dead! Long live the gross-out!

Comments:
As my Niece would say....

"ICKY, YUCKY, POOEY"
 
Lovely, I must go lay down now until my stomach settles.

I once witnesses that potato smell. Shiver...
 
I had that potato incident. Sick stuff. Never ruined my taste for potatoes though. Somewhat like still being able to drink tequila, I suppose.
 
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