The Bag Man

I’ve touched upon this subject in a previous post regarding oddball characters on the Q46 bus. If you’ve been riding the bus for as long as I have you’ll notice certain oddball characters that commute during the same time as you.

You all have heard of a bag-lady, and the image of a haggard woman trudging along the streets carrying all sorts of bags filled with stuff conjures in your mind. Well, there is a male version of the bag-lady; the bag-man, and he takes the Q46 bus.

I’ve seen him both on the morning and evening commute. He is a white male and if you just looked at his face, he seems nice and looks “normal”. If you pan back, you’ll notice that he has a comb-over of thick dried wavy hair that is losing it’s color. Despite the effort he makes with his comb-over, he still looks like he just rolled out of bed. His clothes are nothing in particular. They’re in fair condition. The colors seem dull; not from frequent washing but the opposite. His clothes do not look dirty but they don’t look clean either.

He carries with him two bags filled with stuff. One is a multi-double bagged bag with an outer weathered Fairway plastic shopping bag, and the other is a filthy canvas tote bag with heavy soiling on one side.

I don’t know what’s inside those bags but he always has them with him. He carries them as though he were condemned to carry them for the rest of his life as punishment.

To my knowledge he is not a homeless man. He doesn’t reek of your typical homeless person whose body odor screams, “I haven’t bathed in weeks!”

He’s usually already on the bus by the time the bus reaches my stop along the route.  When I see him on the bus, I always avoid standing near him. I was always suspicious of hygiene habits.  And today, I confirmed my suspicions. He got on the bus at the same stop as me and took a seat next to me.  I was apprehensive at first when he sat down next to me and parked his filthy bags in front of his feet.  I wanted to get up and leave but stopped myself from making such an obvious move. And then there was an odd whiff of something in the air.  It was subtle but it was there.  It hovered around him and slowly reached out and began to wrap it’s dull odor of dried sweat and ashy skin over me.  He smelled like someone who did not maintain a daily hygiene regiment. I couldn’t take it anymore and decided that I would rather stand than be seated next to the bag-man; and I didn’t want his filthy bags to touch me either.

I went to the back of the bus, and some lady ended up sitting next to him.

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~ by thedailycommuter on Wednesday, June 17, 2009.

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