I Almost Died On My Way To Work – 26th January, 2007

I almost died this morning on my way to work.

I was sitting on an excruciatingly crammed tube (on the Victoria line to be precise) when it pulled into Euston Station. A crowd of passengers exited my carriage, leaving those of us remaining feeling thankful and relieved.

As the tube doors closed and we headed towards Warren Street, a cool breeze stroked my face and I gratefully gasped for air. And then it hit me… faint at first, but growing stronger and more pungent by the second. Someone had let one rip and it stank like they hadn’t washed their crack out since birth. It would’ve been kinder for someone to chuck the carcass of a dead animal onto the carriage. At least the fetid stench of decaying flesh is slightly sweet.

Instead, I could feel the remains of the toast I’d consumed not even one hour before suddenly rising up the back of my throat. People all around me started to squirm uncomfortably in their seats, trying to look like they hadn’t noticed that we’d suddenly been plunged into the depths of a motorway service’s blocked toilet bowl.

A couple of young girls giggled nervously and covered their noses with their hands. One man turned a painful shade of blue as he tried to hold his breath to avoid the noxious gas. Oh my gosh, I couldn’t breathe. There was no fresh air and no escape and we were all going to die. What the hell had the culprit had for breakfast? A cabbage smoothie? Raw sewage? Ten boiled eggs? Whatever the cause, I started heaving.

Praying silently for God to give me the strength to survive (and not puke), I did what any half-dying girl would do in a situation like this – I ignored the rules of etiquette and produced my perfume bottle from the depths of my handbag. Forget trying to look like I hadn’t noticed… I frantically sprayed my white scarf in the vanilla scent and wound it around my head until my face was wrapped so tight, I couldn’t even move my jaw. Then I sprayed the entire carriage. People looked at me with a mixture of compassion and gratitude, and some people even laughed. A few of the more macho-looking blokes looked slightly vexed about having to go into work smelling like a girl. Give a toss! It was a do or die situation and I did what I had to do.

But to the stinker that gassed us, I have to say this: I hope the next time you get lucky, and you find some gorgeous girl to sit on your face, I hope she hasn’t washed for three weeks, suddenly develops diarrhoea, and you pass out when you realise that the hot sauce on your face isn’t chocolate fudge…

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