The smell of urine, semen and god knows what else (like there’s anything worse) filled my nose 3 stations before the train stopped at ground zero.
I could taste sour things way before. The foulness overtook me. Absorbed in my clothes. I was paranoid about an air-born disease festerering in my liver.
The hollow of a play land called Coney Island-long deteriorated, burned out, rusted, ignored, graffiti ridden, was home to the Terminal Hotel.
Coney Island. Also home to the background for apocalyptic movies.
The Terminal – It thrived, heaved in and out like an Amityville horror house but not as pretty. It was an evil presence that swallowed you whole. A landmark, a beacon, to the hopeless built right across from the elevated train line. There were no ghosts. Ghosts were too smart to linger.
The scary residents long or short stay were very real (but ghostly). They excreted more than normal humans should. And when the train passed, everything shook. Everything felt worse shaking. The residents shook. And fell. Some died right there in the entrance.
Mom couldn’t score a job at a grocery store or even a funeral parlor. And we had a great funeral parlor in our neighborhood. Those who visited the Terminal were dead but didn’t know it. And we were responsible for cleansing the linens of their gooey remnants. And there weren’t big enough washing machines; super-hot water wasn’t strong enough to handle the load (loads). Mom also handled the front desk. She was adept at making toothless barely-breathing death piles feel human.
I was forced to go. It was the only job mom could get that paid under the table. Along I went. Against my will. She played against my sympathy. She couldn’t do it alone. She needed me to strip the beds. I felt like I owed her even though I now realize I didn’t owe her. Cursing and screaming the entire way on the commuter train that railed you directly to the feet of darkness (what I called the Coney Island train station). Fridays after school and the weekends were no longer my own.
I despised my own skin for an entire year. I couldn’t sanitize my hands enough. I didn’t want to associate with this.
I wouldn’t even touch myself below for a year (and you know how tough that can be for a boy who requires relief).
Why didn’t I consider gloves?
I just wasn’t thinking clearly on those trips.
Bed sheets were stained cloths. As rigid as plate glass in sections (hard, so hard in the middle). They were so soaked and dried, soaked and dried, and so wrinkled that the ends appeared to have shrunk. They’d ride up at the edges.
Almost seemed like they wanted to curl into a big yellow ball and die an honorable linen death.
It was customary to roll over a sleeping drunk to one side, then the other, just to expose what used to be at one time, a real mattress and get a sheet off. To me, there was nothing else on earth as putrid as these mattresses because they were NEVER cleaned.
Once I rolled this anemic looking passed-out naked black dude all the way into the hall just for fun. Later I found out he was dead and I didn’t know it. Real learning experience.
He appeared very peaceful. Too peaceful to be sequestered to a room in hell. He was in a far better place.
Once off the bed I’d drop the death piles of sheets to the floor and stuff them in a big laundry bag using a discarded wooden plunger handle. The handle was also a reasonable weapon to keep the toothless scrawny hookers away from me. I’d swing the stick way above my head like a lasso so they’d leave me alone.
I was like sugar or meth to them for some reason.
I also learned the lessons of the yellow sticky in 1978.
So what is yellow sticky?
Yellow sticky are the shitty things you remember. Things that happened to you. Things you have really no control over yet affect you throughout your entire life.
Conditions that have been forced on you. Mostly unfortunate. Mainly through no fault of your own.
They’ve left a mark on you. Permanently altered your life filter whether you realize it or not
Look around. Think about it. There are many people you know right now who have cursed you with the yellow sticky.
It’s extremely challenging to shake off yellow sticky, too. Or at the least, work it down to a subtle buzz in your brain. The very best you can hope for is a channeling of its power into something productive. It can be done, but it’s going to take time. Steps to follow are coming. First, there must be awareness.
Yellow and sticky fades to clean but you’re never the same. It never goes away completely.
Everyone deals with yellow and sticky to some degree. For some, it’s as large as a bed sheet. Actually, your personal yellow and sticky is always large unless you’re in denial. And denial works to fade it. The denial method is temporary at best
Negative ways to deal with your PYS (Personal Yellow Sticky) Factor:
Drugs or alcohol. They do a fine job masking the factor yet the pain will return until next dosage. Over time the condition will worsen too if you don’t stop. You’re just trading in one yellow sticky for a numbing form of the same.
Therapists. My personal belief is they have good intentions but only make things worse. They’re attempting to cure you. That’s what they’re hired to do. From experience I’ve only become more confused by the processes they follow.
Anger. Anger will deteriorate your organs. Warp your mind. Cause cancer. Anger can cause you to lash out at those trying to help. Your door to healing will be cemented shut,emotionally.
Laziness. It’s fine to hang around, go numb to recharge batteries. It’s good for you. Ifyou’re spending a good majority of your time in front of the television, social media youmay be a victim of laziness. That is also an escape from yellow sticky. Learn to recognize and change the behavior.
Excessive work. The bookend to lazy. This has been my own way out for years. Sixty-hour work weeks on the short end, ninety on the other is a way to marathon run from yellow sticky. I can feel its presence chasing me constantly.
The harder and longer I work, thequicker and smarter it gets. On occasion I feel as if I’m on an endless treadmill and yellow sticky is a devious clown who hopes I stumble.
Overspending. Buying junk you don’t need, especially on credit, is just a temporary relief and enough of it will be detrimental to your financial health.
Spending within reason is fine. Spending to feel better is not healthy.
You want to know why America is sad? Why the majority is depressed?
Because we don’t possess the financial resources to spend like before. We can’t use our homes as never-ending ATM machines pumping out cash for new surround sound equipment or lavish trips.
I admit. I overwash sheets and pillowcases. Makes me feel in control. I’ve dropped every connection to yellow sticky in my life. I hadn’t seen my mother for 15 years. Oh I spoke to her on the phone from time to time but that’s it.
She died at an early age with me on the other end of the phone. I encouraged her to pass. The only way she was going to overcome yellow sticky was through death. I knew that. At the end, so did she.
For you, death is not an option.