It’s a Beautiful Town

6th September 2006

We had a great time in New York, mostly because of all our amazing friends there, but the first few days were rough:

I decide to take an afternoon nap while Bryan explores New York. I return to our room, strip down to my skivvies, and climb in bed. Something is amiss. Are the sheets still damp from the wash? I sweep my hands outward to test my theory when I feel something wet soaking through the back of my underwear. I leap up in a panic and see a giant wet spot on the bed just before I tear my underwear off and run to the shower. There I scrub until my skin is gone.

A few hours later, we are in a cab. I am admiring the city lights when I smell vomit. “Bryan,” I say. “I smell vomit.” He sniffs. “I don’t,” he says. I sniff again. “Yeah, it’s pretty distinct. Maybe it’s on my side,” I say. This is when I realize that the vomit is on my seatbelt. The one I’m wearing.

The next morning we are walking along Central Park near the hansome cabs. There are dozens of horses, and all of them are shitting and pissing in the street or in canvas collection tarps attached to their haunches. From the smell, I’d say they’ve been doing this for years, perhaps centuries. The stench of asphalt-baked piss, ammonia, and rotting horse dung is so overpowering that I actually begin to gag in the street. I’m stumbling forward, trying to outpace the stench while doubled over, heaving.

Then we went for lunch.

23 thoughts on “It’s a Beautiful Town

  1. Ellen

    Oh, Miss Maggie, I’m sorry! Funny quote today on Overheard in NY that I read right after I read this entry:

    Tourist guy: Every step is a new adventure! [step] Diesel! [step] Vomit! [step] Urine!

    –Times Square

    Yay, New York stinks again!

  2. Chrissie

    Welcome to motherhood! Starting early in pregnancy, I could easily detect smells that my husband swore I was making up. My son is now 1 1/2, but my “Super Mommy” sense of smell is not gone. I prefer to think of it as evolution at it’s best. You know? One of those “Mom saves baby from undetectable gas leak” kind of things. FYI — You’ll probably also develop an uncanny ability to hear a baby cry from the other end of the house… even when the radio and dishwasher are on!

  3. laurie

    All props to moms for a variety of things, but the seatbelt vomit RIGHT UNDER MY NOSE (and probably the horsies, too, come to think of it) would have gotten to my as-yet-childless self posthaste.

  4. Samantha

    Ah yes, the super mom’s first super powers have developed–I could smell things a mile a way when I was preggers.

    I think it’s a way for our body to find the nutrients we need during our pregnancy–I would crave the most bizar things–like tuna salad in the mornings! Oh yeah!

    Funny thing is that I can still eat the most bizzar things for breakfast even four years after the pregnancy.

    Feel better soon–may I suggest that you bring a hankie and put a clean fresh sent on it that won’t induce heaving in the street for such occasions. It worked for me.

    Cheers!

  5. planetheidi

    I was in DC the other week. Sweltering hot plane ride, exhausting ride to the hotel. Tear off my shoes and socks, slide into the hotel bed… and a sharp needle-pain jabs into the sole of my foot. Popping up, I find a very large bumblebee in bed with me.

    But urine would be worse.

  6. kara

    vomit on your seatbelt… wait til the vomit it projectiling from your child right onto your chest, or worse FACE. Of course there is a difference between your sweet babies vomit and some strangers.

  7. The Scarlet Pervygirl

    Okay, I may have missed the theme of the story, here, but what, exactly, does being pregnant have to do with being grossed out by discovering that you are wearing someone else’s urine and then someone else’s vomit? Gosh, you pregnant ladies and the funny things your bodies do! I, not being pregnant, would NEVER become physically ill from walking through a block’s worth of fresh horse sewage baking in the sun, or soaking in the bodily effluvia of strangers. The hell?

  8. Andrea

    Glad you had such a good time in NYC (mostly)! It was Matthew’s and my last vacation as “non-parents” but we didn’t know officially yet if that was the case (just suspecting and waiting). JT and Bri’s first taste of hot choc. (via Serendipity) was enjoyed in my belly there but of course we didn’t officially know JT and Bri were BOTH in there. I blamed the quick 10# gain on the trip and a wedding.

    And now I’m very thankful that I had no pregnancy “nose”/nausea on the trip, after hearing your story-Central Park would not have been the same. It all started right AFTER the trip…
    If you move there, you know we’ll come see you!

  9. mathew

    i once arrived at a hotel, pulled back the blanket and top sheet (first thing i always do) to find a bloody hunk of something [which i believe came from a human being] in the middle of the bed.

    be glad you just got a wet spot of msc.

  10. Maggie Post author

    For the record, I would have been equally horrified, and equally aware, in each instance had I not been pregnant. That said, I can sniff out a hot dog stand from 20 blocks away, and that’s a new development.

  11. r@d@r

    for a long time new york held no interest for me due to its lack of decent coffee. even espresso in little italy seemed an afterthought compared to north beach in sf. happily this has recently begun to change…plus some good friends live in brooklyn, and even if their coffee sucks the pasta is seviceable…but i digress.

    no urban smell can match the bottomless foetor of the canals of venice. it literally smells like the effluvia of the underworld.

    the food and the coffee make up for it though.

    an acquaintance who had been to calcutta says they win in the smell sweepstakes, although both mexico city and rio are said to be contenders due to smog. you have to wonder about breathing air you can see.

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