Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Smell Test

A few weeks before I left my job last year, I had to go to Office Max to get 1099 forms to send out to the contracted providers we had hired the previous year.  As I had a legit excuse to play hooky for a bit, I wandered the aisles looking at pens (oh my GAH the pens!!), notepads and organizers.  It was a dreamy field trip for a Girl Friday who loves organizational tools but wants somebody else to pay for it.  Seeing as how I was sent on a mission by the The Man, however, I eventually stopped pining for what I couldn't have and got my boring tax forms and made my way to the checkout line.

Ahead of me were three businessmen.  I don't know what their business was.  Wait, I take that back.  Their business was to put on a suit and tie and look businessy while bathing in nicotine.  It overpowered the Please Wait Here For The Next Available Cashier line like a nuclear cloud and made me want to gag.  I breathed through my mouth while waiting - one snafu after another at the register that lengthened my time in line.

I didn't know how much more I could take when somebody came and stood behind me in line.  It would get worse.  His body odor was so bad it made the nicotine seem like a dodge through the Perfume Lady Patrol at Macy's in December.

I was the filling in an Oreo cookie of stink.

Maybe that was the final assault in an already fragile work situation because a couple of weeks later I'd be out of that place for good.  I took a lot of baggage out the door with me when I left, including a lasting memory of that stinky line that will not go away.  

One year later it is still tailgating me.

When I get home from work I walk in the front door and take a deep breath.  In the event that something funky has gone down in the village while I've been gone I start flushing it out. Garbage?  Dog pee?  Towels left in the washing machine?  Litter box?  A potato gone bad?  I hunt Smelly down like Elmer Fudd, and if toting a shotgun over my shoulder and ka-blamming the daylights out of it would take care of the problem I'd get one. 

"Don't you smell that?" I always ask Mark.  He shakes his head, sinuses so packed he'd be a case study for any Ear, Nose and Throat doc.

"How can you not smell that??!!  It's so gross," I say, nose to the ground like a bassett hound.  Sniffing, sniffing, sniffing.  "It's in this general vicinity," I tell him waving my hand in a circle and sheesh, why hasn't anybody thought of a radar and a Clorox drone for this kind of thing?  Cleaning supplies at the ready, I rejoice when I find the Culprit of Odor.  "Success, people!! I have saved us once again."

One time Will told me that his friend said our house was the only one she'd ever been in that had cats and didn't smell like it had cats.  "She really said that?  Oh geez, Will, I think that's the nicest thing anybody has ever said about this house.  Really.  Tell her that I said that," I say tearing up while simultaneously patting myself on the back.

The other day Mark and I were at Target looking for floss when it settled over Health & Beauty.  The dreaded Body Odor in the toothpaste aisle, taking me back to that memorable day in Office Max.  "Oh geez, I can't do this" I whisper to Mark.  "It smells so bad.  Tell me you can smell that?" Packed to the gills with pollen he looks at me and says, "It's April.  I got nothing getting through until the first hard freeze in November."

I stand alone in my misery and cannot figure out how these shoppers in Target can go about their business like there isn't the smell of locker room in the toothpaste aisle.  I pull my shirt up to my nose and take a deep whiff.  Is it me?  Negative.  I work in an office.  The only time I sweat during the day is when my boss walks by my desk and sees me on my phone for the thousandth time.

I notice two hipsters are at the other end of the aisle.  It has to be them.  Those hipsters might brush their teeth but they probably don't do boring, conventional stuff like bathing or washing their clothes.  "I see you hipsters," I say telepathically.  "Thinking you're so cool and all feeling the Bern.  Well, here's a bern for you.  You're smelling up my Target."

They don't seem to connect telepathically.  Weirdos.  They mind their own business, get some toothpaste and move on.

I go after them.


Yes.  I follow them to housewares.

I had to find out if they smell so I stalk them until I find some cute, and I mean really cute dishes.  Our dishes are at least twenty years old.  Why don't we ever think about replacing this crap?  Where did Mark go?  I start to go look for him and then remember why I'm there in the first place.

Oh yeah, confronting smelly hipsters.

I trail behind them once again and pretend to look at dishtowels and am surprised by what I discover.  The hipsters do not stink.

It's 8:30.  The store announces that it's closing in thirty minutes.  I go find my husband.  I feel like a failure. I have not rooted out this smell, and doesn't Target know that all the cute housewares and Who What Wear in the world won't save them if they smell bad?  I mull this over on the drive home and realize that in the next emergency (and there will be another because this is a trend) I must first place the oxygen mask securely over my own nose and mouth before worrying about that of another. 

My husband is a lucky man.  He can't smell a thing.  I'm a proud woman.  My house doesn't smell like cats. 

At the end of another smelly spin around the sun the only people we can save is ourselves. 

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyable read . I can totally relate .
    Your dear brother who is my dearest love, has the same sinus problem as Mark.
    But in the scope of things , I accept this as a small hiccup in the life we live .