Dirty Socks and Marijuana

The best way to have started my week was with a trip home. Things have been a bit out of order around here and it was all starting to take a toll on my mood (and happiness). I had the opportunity to go home for a few days for a celebration and to just soak up my family and friends and everything “normal”. 

I took the bus into NYC which means I had to commute from the station to my mom’s house. Every time I come home, the first (and last) thing that greets me is the subway system; it’s how I get home, it’s how I’ll start my way back to Virginia. New York natives who still live in the city probably find the subway system to be so annoying. I mean, I did too when I had to ride it everyday to wherever I was going. Literally. If it wasn’t walking distance, I was on public transportation. And honestly, even though I don’t ride it everyday now, it’s still annoying when I have to, but I do from a different perspective.

On Friday evening, after both my sister and brother refused to fight rush hour to pick me up from the city (I don’t blame them honestly), my dad offered to pay for my cab home because he hadn’t gotten off of work yet. I seriously considered it but decided that $40+ home versus $2.75 wasn’t even worth it. I opted for the train.

From the moment I stepped onto the platform, it was like wrapping myself in comfort. Sound weird, I know, but I was home. I was comfortable. I moved about with ease. It felt like just yesterday I was on the platform making my way home from wherever. It was like muscle memory. The ‘A’ train pulled up as soon as I made it up the steps; perfect. I stepped in and stood clear of the closing doors and it hit me: a whiff of what smelled like dirty socks and marijuana. If any of you have every traveled to or live in NYC and ride the train, you’ll know that everyday —every train stop, even—will introduce you to a new medley of scents. It’s all part of being home.

Never before had I ever “looked” at riding the train as a welcome home. Like I said earlier, it was always annoying and inconvenient when I had to ride the trains. Needless to say, as I make my way back to very quiet, pretty slow moving, go-to-sleep-early, Virginia, I will be happy to have been home for a few days to soak up the very things that I love so much about my city; family, friends, the culture, and just the abundance of life in general.


Where are you originally from? Being from NYC and moving away has been the one thing that taught me “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone”. So badly I wanted to move away from the place I was born and raised in and now I obsess with it and take every opportunity to visit. Can you relate? Let me know in the comments below.

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3 thoughts on “Dirty Socks and Marijuana

  1. I still live in the city I was born in so I haven’t had that experience of returning home. However, I have visited New York (it is amazing) and I have to agree that the subway smells like dirty socks and marijuana mixed with hot rotting garbage. It is a very distinct smell. Sometimes when I pass a garbage truck I start to reminisce about my trip to New York. That may sound like an awful visual, but it really is a great feeling. There’s no place like home and being wih family, and there’s no place like New York. I can understand why you obsess over it so much.

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  2. Your description of the subway smelling like “dirty socks and marijuana” is pretty colorful. I am not from a city at all, in fact quite the opposite. But I do experience some of the same emotions of annoyance and comfort when going home. It’s like an old scratchy blanket you’ve had since you were a kid; comfortable but a bit of a pain at the same time.

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