I once caught a glimpse of my current condition cast by the mirror of a McDonald's restroom, I sneaked in during a torrential downpour to shoot up the horse I just bought. It took me two days of constant spanging to have enough to buy even the smallest amount. I tell you this because these are some of the things us homeless people have thought of to feed our addiction.

I stalled when I made eye contact with the stranger in the reflection. With cool water I washed away the small jagged salt crystals and dirt that had streaked down around my neck during my short journey to this particular fast food establishment.

I was about to leave with the dope still hidden in my pocket, when out of the corner of my eye I saw an employee sent to check on me slowly retreating from a crack in the door.

I felt like pushing the whole thing and dying right there on the floor in the unkempt restroom. They have no right to judge me and assume my business.

I emereged from the stall rolling down the blood tinged sleeve, and left as quickly as possible in an attempt to not be seen leaving. Before I left I heard one of the girls working at the fry station say, "I don't see why dat junkie gotsta use our bathroom to clean up when the hobo shower outside is working perfect today."

I have ran into a few strangers from my past, and now that I'm older I think; oh god, how the time has gone by, and with a flash the past is brought back. This is a short-lived memory because a sick feeling comes over me when I realize nothing has changed except maybe our age and the tired look behind my eyes.

I could place her face but I couldn't remember her name, it just wasn't coming to me. We had grew up together, me and the girl. We're the same age, but somehow she managed to hold on to her youth. It was the younger sister of a guy I once was friends with in high school, but because I was high as a kite at this moment, any pain I might have felt from that comment quickly dissipated as it rolled like water off a duck's back. There was something that I did realize that day, though, our youth is only hidden underneath a layer of grime we let build up over time.

Generally speaking, a "hobo shower" is a method of bathing that can performed in a public restroom. There are quite a few methods of doing this (each independently devised millions of times across the globe), and in practice they aren't restricted to the homeless.

There are two main types of hobo showers - the mild and the thorough. The former is what usually happens when you get back sweaty from the gym or haven't had time to take a shower in the morning; a hoopty five-minute fix for those who have noticed themselves smelling a bit foul. The latter, however, is considerably more involved, and might take as long as fifteen minutes - it requires a good continuous source of hot water and soap, which usually precludes the latrines at Denny's.

The first step to taking a hobo shower is finding a cleansing agent. Usually it's hand soap. But for those who find themselves in inadequately-maintained restrooms, there are plenty of alternatives. Moist towelettes, shampoo, rubbing alcohol and spray disinfectant (in roughly-descending order of hazard) are just a few of the materials easily adapted for hygiene. Be creative. But remember that you're trying to do two things here: get the smell off and keep it off. Rubbing potpourri-covered fingers on your sweaty 'pits without doing anything else will make you smell like a sweaty hobo with potpourri on your armpits. Likewise, getting some hand soap on the underarms can get rid of the sweat and bacteria there but in a couple hours you're going to smell almost as funky as you did before. However, you're not likely to have anything that can do both of these things. Although hot water never hurts. Rinsing completely after a hobo shower is a bit counter-productive, as it will remove the soap intended to mask your stench. However, the first round of soap you use is going to stop smelling like soap and start smelling rank, so you may want to rinse that off. But after you do that, apply another round to keep you fresh throughout the day. Dab (don't wipe) it dry with a paper towel. Nothing's worse than having massive stains on your shirt. And while you're at it, you're probably going to lean over the counter (assuming there is one) a lot. Wipe it off with a towel first; from my experience bathroom counters are precisely at crotch level and covered with water from whoever went before you, so if you lean over without wiping it off you're going to look like you whizzed yourself for the next half-hour.

Next, you'll want to make sure you've gotten everything covered. The armpits are probably the most egregious offenders, but your nether regions can raise a stink too. Especially if you haven't showered in a couple days, and especially if you've dropped a deuce and been unable to wipe thoroughly. You might not think your butt smells weird. It does, you just can't smell it because your nose is on the other side of your body. Even if you could turn your head far enough to smell it, you shouldn't use your nose to judge your handiwork anyway - people don't notice their own smell because they're used to it. This is why the guy who sat next to you at the diner didn't pass out the next time he dropped trou. Rather, judge your smell by the amount of scrubbing you've done. Don't bother holding your hand up to your nose, either, because it will only give you a false sense of security.

For a thorough hobo shower, the process is more stringent. Instead of sticking your hand up the side of your shirt, you may need to actually take said shirt off, and even for a guy this will arouse the suspicions of anyone in your vicinity. Scrubbing yourself in a public restroom is going to make you look like a hobo. There is no way to avoid this. However, if you do it right, you won't look (or smell) like one by the time you leave. Keep in mind that, for the most part, you're only doing damage control. You're putting off the onset of a stench until you get home and have the opportunity to clean yourself fully. Even a thorough hobo shower is a losing proposition, because shampooing your hair is more or less impossible and the amount of water you're using doesn't remove the dirt as much as neutralize it and spread it around.

Hopefully, if we all do this once in a while, the world will be a less smelly place.

This was written under the influence of my medication, whose side effects apparently include making your writing suck. I will revise it when my prescription runs out in a couple days.

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