Olfactory Assault

I’m sensitive to smells.

I think I get it from my mom, who is also sensitive to smells, though she really likesstrong perfumes and scents whereas I really can’t stand anything of volume. I can’t really walk down the soap aisle at the store and I’m not a big fan of scented laundry soap or fabric softener. In most cases, I’d rather things just not have a smell.

There are exceptions, of course. I like the smell of chocolate. I like the smell of coffee. I also like the smell of pipe tobacco that you get when you walk past the smoke shop, but I don’t want to be in the middle of a bunch of pipe smokers.

Anyway, this is all coming to mind because the entire first floor at work smells like god damn hot ham sandwich and it’s making me sort of ill.

My cubicle neighbors are probably irritated with me and my smell issue since it basically means if you cook last night’s stank-ass fish dinner and bring it back to your desk, you’ll probably be getting a polite knock on the wall of your cube with my smiling face ready to have a polite discussion about maybe please could you keep the cooked food in the break area thanks.

I think smelly food falls into that same respect-for-your-neighbors arena as nail clipping. If you need to clip your nails, go ahead and take that into the appropriate place (restroom) so you’re not bugging other people with it.

I recently moved my cube not too far from the original location so I could get a nice view of the outside world rather than being stuck in a dark windowless tank all day. It’s a nice location, reasonably quiet, with a view of the parking lot which is really not so bad if I do say so myself. Unfortunately, what I did find is that the air vent over my head is, through some dark magic, connected to the vent over the break area, so whenever someone’s got something luscious a-cookin’, it ends up blowing out the vent in the ceiling right into my face.

I’m not entirely sure what to do about that. I have done some experimentation to see if this really is the case, and, yes, it does appear to be so. If it starts stinkin’, I can jog over to the break area and, sure enough, there’s the microwave going.

While I am figuring out how to somehow alleviate the issue at the source, I have “rigged up” a sort of counter-stink defense involving a small desk fan and “Clean Linen” scented air freshener. Step 1: Turn on fan. Step 2: Spray into the fan. Step 3: Sigh in relief.

The fan-and-spray anti-stink

Thank goodness for laptops, right? “Ack! They released the mustard gas! Grab your laptop and hide out in a conference room until it dissipates!”

Work’s not the only place with some dicey smells. Babies bring with them a whole new set of unpleasant aromas, most of which involve poop or vomit, and sometimes both. I am partial to neither, and that makes for a challenge. I’m not sure who figured out what baby formula is supposed to smell like, but that guy needs to be fired. Baby formula, even fresh in the bottle, smells like ass. Come on, you couldn’t stick some vanilla scent in there or something? Oh, and the Auntie Anne’s pretzel stand at the mall always smells so sickeningly sweet it catches my breath.

OK, the ham sandwich appears to be dying down. I can probably take this mask off and get back to work.