SOL# 17 – Day 23      classroom-challenge

Thank you Fran Haley for this inspiration “The Writing Spa” in which one of her suggestions reads:The Refresh sign bears the Isak Sinesen quote: “The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.” 

I’ll never forget the first time I really sweated.

A young college graduate spreading her independent wings moves to Boston. A dream job materialized working in a genetics lab. Now she will be able to use her biology degree and work to pay back those college loans. The adventure begins as she  moves in with a college buddy. “I’ll be save, Mom. I’m not in the heart of the city, but safely tucked away in the suburbs.” The commuter train ride early in the morning is long and easy.

Eventually she moves into the city. She rides the T everyday to work, soon assimilating the savvy way of commuters – no eye contact, the pass tucked in pocket safely, face the same direction always, recognize stops by curves and slow downs, read a paper back book or fold your newspaper into fourths to make it easier to handle, no contact with others. Coming from a small New England town this kind of public demeanor is strange. After several months though, she does recognize the need for this space around yourself. There is just too much going on everywhere – too many people, too many distractions, too many sights and too many smells. There is nothing to enjoy along that commute. The morning ride can be especially offensive as people pore into the subway after dousing themselves with perfume and cologne. “Can’t they smell themselves?” she asks while covering her nose with the newspaper.

Then the weather turned hot, really hot. The  purpose is always to get home as fast as you can, so everyone crowds into the cars. More than should comfortably fit squeeze in. There are disruptions in service and break downs regularly. Even below ground the temperature rises. The little tin can stops and stews.She stands silently holding the strap, focusing on nothing, the air in front of her. Suddenly she feels sweat rolling down her back and legs! Tiny rivulets of water crawling down. There is no physical reason for this other than the engulfing heat surrounding her. She’s sweating and not doing anything. She is not working up a sweat, just sweating.

It is time to find a different apartment within a walking distance commute to work ,she vows. Enough!!


4 thoughts on “Sweating

  1. Ah, East Coast heat! I loved the quote you started with–I’ve never heard it and it rings so very true for me. Also, I have to tell you that I visited Boston while in college in Seattle and rode the bus and was struck by how everyone was exactly how you described–head down, no eye contact, doing their own thing. I wondered if it was just that particular ride or if this was how it was. I’m guessing it’s a little closer to “this is how it is in Boston” than I first realized! Congrats on the slice and on helping me remember young first job days, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Applause! Applause! I wondered how many people might be compelled to use sweat vs. tears or the sea as a salt water theme for meaningful writing. I am so happy you were inspired – actually quite moved. These are vivid images. Did you enjoy the trip back in time? 🙂


    1. The trip back wrote itself, but so glad I’m out of the city now!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I really enjoyed the third person perspective. The sweating while riding on public transportation resonated as I live in Chicago. To make things worse, like you said, is the perfume and cologne. Ugh!

    Liked by 1 person

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