Saturday, January 10, 2009

On grime

"You look like you've been in a few hostels, but I'll just explain the rules."

- the guy at reception today

I guess I'm finally dirty enough to qualify as a backpacker. 

When I first started this thing, I would walk into a hostel and look at the scruffy, unshaven backpackers with a kind of wary-eyed awe. They looked seasoned, at ease with their surroundings, and above all, dirty. They had a certain kind of worn-in filth that's the result of months of lax hygiene and infrequent showers. I didn't have that kind of grime at the time, and I felt more like a visitor to a zoo than a genuine lodger of hostels. 

I have that dirtiness now. I'm fairly sure of it. The receptionist confirmed it. And today, I had seven hours on a train to contemplate it. There's about 5 millimetres of grime, grease and sweat covering my body. There's an awful funk that comes from my beanie whenever I take it off. And while I take frequent showers, it's probably negated by the necessity of wearing the same set of clothes for weeks on end. 

Sometimes, I feel like I'm the captain of a huge cargo ship of microbiota, and I have a duty to guide my flora to safe harbour. My protozoa, and especially my fungi, have been with me for quite a long time, and I hate to think what'll happen to them once this trip ends. I'll probably miss them when I get back to Australia and have the luxury of shampoo, soap and clean clothes ever day. 

I think I'll go take a shower now.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hopefully you will wash before coming home

Your brother

Connolly's agent said...

washed my hair last night.