Humans as a general rule are not the most clean of creature. Our streets, our homes and our cities might appear clean on the surface but the majority of us ever bother to cast our gaze downward to think of all the waste that we produce is right there beneath our feet. Beneath the dark, loamy earth lies twisting cavern like tunnels to which the entirety of a cities waste flows like so much a bubbling toxic river of gross. If you’ve never worked in those to do sewer cleaning in Bronx NY caverns yourselves you would never understand what it’s like to find yourself waist deep in the most vile fluids. A part of the brain shuts itself off in absolute denial of what you’re wading into; it’s better to force a level of ignorance onto yourself than to admit that you’re practically swimming in the same fluids that come from your own body every day.

My job was a simple one considering the complicated vastness that is the entirety of our sanitary system. I was only to unclog those side sluices that would become gummed up with, well, gummy human gunk. Sometimes we would find landscaping garbage that would spill over from one of the incorrect inflows that jammed up the residential sluices which could cause massive problems for those of us down there. For some areas of the sewers there was a very real threat of drowning in the collective waste of the city if it became too badly clogged. In a city like New York City, one that has been built upon itself again and again through the two and half centuries of American colonization there can be serious problems with sewage clogging. Some of the tunnels simply are not built to sustain the sheer amount of waste that flows through them every day.