The problem with the public library is that it is public and thereby I have no control over the people who may or may not sit in my general vicinity. I would personally like to put out a ten foot no fly/walk or passing of gas zone radius around my body that would be effective at all times unless you have been specifically approved to enter into my personal space. And of course at any given times, people normally allowed access to my personal space could be arbitrarily kicked out for specific offenses commited in my safe haven.
I say this because especially at the library, I have been the unfortunate victim of the Lingering Odors phenomenon. There I sit, earnestly typing away or reading for research, breathing, like I normally do, the clean and pleasant odors of books and paper, occassionally interspersed with the slightly unpleasant very old book smell that occurs when someone is perusing the stacks and opens an oldie.
And then it happens. Without fail. Someone will either burp, fart, take off their shoes or just have failed to use their deodorant on an unusually hot day and I begin to suffer.
Listen I'm not trying to be mean about this, I just happen to have a very sensitive nose. It is really more of a curse. I spend most of my life breathing through my mouth to avoid unpleasant smells. I am cursed by sympathetic vomiting not because of the visual but because of the odor. Taking the NYC subways all my life was the bane of my existence because nothing smells funkier than the subway tracks. I am paralyzed by port-o-potties and would rather crap my pants than go into one. But I would rather jump in front of a Mac Truck rather than crap my pants. At least I would be dead.
So the other day a pungent offender came to sit next to me. The acrid BO smell had high notes of gamey meat and low notes of garlic and middle notes of IthinkI'mgoingtovomit. On top of the complexity of his STINK, he had compounded his offense by spraying himself heavily in some expensive I'mgoingclubbingtonightandhopingtogetlucky cologne. Holy crap are you kidding me? Let me explain something to you, showering in cologne does not actually make you smell better if you don't actually clean yourself first. And to make matters worse. Oh yes there is a worse. Everytime he shifted in his seat, you could smell nasty butt stink. That actually made me angry and in a huff of gagging fury, I packed up my laptop and books and ran away to another available spot across the room from Stinky butt man.
I thought I was safe, I really did. This time I was seated next to a woman. Women usually smell better then men. But not this woman. Perhaps she had a glandular problem. Perhaps she ate a particularly pungent meal that day. Perhaps she was related to Stinky butt man. I don't know what it was, but it was nearly as bad. Nearly. At least next to her, it wasn't a lingering in your face odor. Hers came in waves. I'd be typing along at a fast clip and suddenly a wave of sweaty dirty sneaker odor would hit me and make my eyes water. Then it would pass and I would be fine and then a few minutes later I would smell sweaty musky underarm odor. And then someone in my area burped and I swear they must have been eating hot dogs and onions. You could almost smell mustard in the air.
Not the type to pretend and ignore such a stink, I waved my hands frantically in the air and glared at all three people sitting in their separate cubicles next to and in front of me. The two guys in front of me wouldn't even look up but funky woman next to me had the audacity to sit there holding her nose and glaring at me! Can you believe the nerve? Her stinky ass giving me the evil eye?
Indignant, I had to defend myself.
"That was not me!" I whispered at her.
I could tell from her facial expression that she did not believe me.
"I'm telling you that was not me! I did not have hot dogs or onions for lunch!" In a louder whisper.
All of a sudden another wave of odor hit us, making my eyes cross. We turned to stare at the men sitting in front of us, both studiously avoiding eye contact. I looked at her and stuck out my hand at the men, as if to say "See! Told you!" She nodded her head and then turned an evil eye at the both of them. By this time, I am nearly hyperventilating because I'm trying not to breathe through my nose and I'm mad and I think it is the old guy right in front of me and I have a sneaking suspicion he is deliberately blowing them my way but I can still smell musky woman next to me and when the next wave of onions hits me I have had it!
"That's it! I can't take it anymore!" I muttered as I angrily packed up my stuff and glared at both men. This time they looked up at me. The younger man seemed a bit bewildered to see me glaring while the older man was indifferent. Musky woman eyed me sympathetically and glared at the men again. But it is too late, the odors have done me in and I left the library and headed home where at least I knew I would be safe from unpleasant odors.
At least until the kids and Da man get home.
I think I need to invest in a gas mask.