Thursday, November 10, 2011

What's That Smell?

I wanted to roll down the windows, spray Lysol, or better yet, kick the slug out of my car. (For information on what a slug is, click here.) My stomach is made of figurative steel. My gag reflex is almost non-existent. But body odor-coughing-bad breath scented with Halls-newspaper reading-cell phone ringing constantly-moaning when he fell asleep GUY nearly caused me to lose my lunch while driving down I-95 yesterday evening.

Compassion is one of my better qualities. I understand we all have bad days. Sometimes we wake up late and there’s no time for a shower. We can’t help getting sick. Bad breath is a disease some of us can’t control. Snoring or moaning while we sleep is involuntary. And for crying out loud, we all like to read and play with our cell phones. But somehow with all these things combined, the man had to know he was annoying.

I considered the window and the fresh cool air being wasted outside my car, but decided this overweight-dressed-in-sweats man might take offense. Scrunching my nose, I beared it—without the grin—dropped the car to fourth gear and punched the gas.

Getting home quickly was of the utmost importance.

Turning up the music, I tried drowning out my woes with thoughts of my novels, with images that usually have a calming effect on me. But another annoyance greeted my ears and the music faded away, the beautiful scenes of my book’s characters disappeared.

A sound much like someone rubbing their arms when they’re cold grew louder and more fervent.

Was there a bug? Was my jacket hanging from the bottom of the car door, dragging on the ground? Was someone listening to some crazy music on their iPod way too loud?

Sure the sound was coming from the back seat, I glanced over my shoulder. A well dressed, middle aged man was shaking his leg in the most anxious of ways. I have a feeling he must have been struggling to maintain composure.

I was struggling to maintain composure.

Front seat monster was now talking on his cell phone.

My partner in misery and I shared a look, a look that said we were in this together till the end and if we ever saw chubby again, he wasn’t getting a ride with either of us.

Clicking my volume control on the steering wheel, I said screw the slugging etiquette. No one else seemed to care.

Approaching the end of the HOV lanes, I cringed. There’s a dump just off the highway, and lately it’s smelled of rotting eggs. Honestly I’d like to know if the trash has gone toxic, but I figured it couldn’t be any worse than the man next to me.

Wrong. I was wrong. All the scents combined had my stomach turning in on itself. Worse yet, traffic stopped.

I turned the music up louder, legs shaking as rapidly as the man’s in the back seat, tried holding my breath, tried to think of home and the new Yankee candle plug-in I bought, tried to imagine my future rise to fame. Hah! None of that worked, but still, my stomach held its contents.

We inched along I-95. The sun was well below the horizon, leaving only a faint blue light at the edge of earth. The time change sucks, and this ride sucked more. Occasional whimpering moans had me staring at my slug and making funny faces at him. A couple times the man in the back snickered, but his finding humor didn’t work for me.

My attempt to quickly get home failed.

Another thirty minutes passed as we crawled the last five miles to our exit. Thirty miserable, breathless, uneasy minutes.

A bright-green rectangle outlined in white with Exit 143B marked on it relaxed my nerves. Almost there. We took the exit and managed to hit every light leading to the commuter lot, but once I pulled up to the drop off point and unlocked the doors, I didn’t care any more.

“Thanks,” they both muttered, opening their doors and stepping out of my insanely stank filled vehicle.

“Have a good one,” I said, rolling down the windows.

I drove off breathing non-toxic air for the first time in an hour and a half. The slugging system makes getting to and from work easier, faster paced, more bearable. But for just this once, I think I would have preferred being alone.

Faster is not always better.

15 comments:

  1. BOOOOOOO Stinky!! :(((

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  2. Oh, I hate stink! But at least you found the humor in it. :)

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  3. That's me, always the humorous one. Do people not check their pits before they leave the house? ;-) That was awful. I apologize.

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  5. Once upon a time, I worked in an office complex with one of those common-bathroom setups. This loo was shared by three companies. Every day, one of the guys who worked upstairs, would come down to this bathroom, drop trou, sit on the john and eat his lunch. When he'd finished with WHATEVER he was doing in there, he'd douse the entire bathroom with raspberry-scented air freshener, dump his lunch things in the trash, wash his fork off in the sink, and return to work. The morale of the story: Even in our hyper self-conscious world of eating disorders, body issues, and 39 kinds of deodorant, self-awareness may not be as common as it should be.

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  6. I think I may be sick. So disgusting. Who does that???

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  7. Oh Krystal, that was funny, stinky, but funny.

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  8. Oh Krystal....I am so sorry. I am alone for my drive daily and am thankful. I will count my blessings now.

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  9. Glad you found it enjoyable, Maggie. :-)

    Brinda, if three hours wasn't a standard amount of time driving in the normal lanes would take to get me home...I'd drive by myself.

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  10. Oh, you poor thing, Krystal! I think I'd have rolled down the windows and said screw his sensibilities! He certainly wasn't worried about anyone else's. Maybe you should invest in some heavy-duty air freshener for just such occasions :)

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  11. Two words: windows down. EW! (Okay, that's three.)

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  12. Hilarious. Are you sure you weren't in the back of an aircraft?

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  13. Derek, maybe I should invest in a can of Lysol to leave in my car?

    Sarah, Leaving the window down probably would have been better. And who's counting?

    Gene, I'm not sure if I was in MY car. ;-) Didn't feel like it.

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  14. LOL A memorable ride, nonetheless:)

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  15. He sounds gross! I had to give a lift to a friend of my yesterday....she is taking garlic a lot lately and she smelt so bad I threw her some gum! It helped, but only a little.

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