Archive for November 7th, 2014

November 7, 2014

Aahhh. Stop and smell the broccoli

by Janie Jones

Mostly, my room in town is a good situation, despite being too small for all my belongings.

As roommates who are all basically strangers go, I’ve been pretty lucky.  However, one of the joys of renting in a house with a bunch of other people is being at their environmental mercy.  I’m very fastidious and attentive to aesthetics.  Much to my dismay, not all roommates embody these same traits.

Usually, living in the basement buffers me somewhat from the lack of Janie-Standard Cleanliness and Shabby-Not-So-Chic lifestyles of the folks upstairs.  However, scents tend to know no boundaries.  Sour, stinky smells frequently waft down from the kitchen and upstairs bathroom.

On the occasions when I need a quick load of laundry between trips to the farm to use my own machines, I try to hold my breath as I hurriedly switch my things from washer to dryer and get back downstairs.  I try not to think about how dingy and dirty the machines that are supposedly washing my clothes are, or that sewer water smell emanating from the rubber gasket around the lid of the machine.

And sometimes there’s no escape from food odors.  Most of the day yesterday one of the guys was making pasties, and the smell of uncooked rutabaga was heavy in the air the majority of the afternoon.  So I spent yesterday in my room with the door shut, scented candles merrily burning.

But, as the sitting room/kitchenette in the basement is technically a common area, at least one of the guys from upstairs stores his excess freezer goods in “my” freezer and a couple times a week or so will use “my” microwave.  Just before bedtime yesterday he apparently decided to use “my” microwave to cook something with broccoli, and in my olfactory opinion, well-cooked broccoli is a nauseating smell only slightly better than smelling broccoli after it’s been partially digested and expelled as a gaseous emission of the colon.  Being unable to open windows at this time of year, there was little I could do but unload a can of Oust air freshener, put on some scented lotion and go to bed hoping to fall into a slumber in which I could be oblivious to the stench until it cleared out.

This morning I woke up and opened the bedroom door to the somewhat more subtle smell of the cooked pasties.  While highly preferable to well done broccoli, it still makes my nose wrinkle.  Being assaulted by strong smells first thing in the morning makes me cranky.

Its a weird hang up, but I really don’t like smelling food when it’s not meal time.  It bothers me when cooking smells linger on after the cooking is done and the kitchen is cleaned.  I can’t explain why smelling undesirable food smells has a strange effect which puts me in a cranky, bad mood.  Perhaps because by smelling them, I’m inhaling the scent molecules and it feels like I’m being coated inside and out in something yucky.  Just as “good” smells lift our spirits and trigger happy thoughts and memories, smells I find undesirable spiral me down into a place where I feel dirty and unpleasant.

And, why does it seem like nothing good smelling ever drifts down from upstairs?  Why does it always seem to be either a rotten smell, a ripe gym sock smell, or some pungent cooked food that smells as though it would be inedible?  The burning questions of Janie Jones.

A lot of people I know complain about loud roommates, or rude roommates, or dishonest roommates.  I apparently have stinky ones.  I suppose in the grand scheme it could be worse.  But still, I wonder why it’s never the smell of cake, or laundry detergent or even a pleasant aftershave.  I guess I better save up for and Ionic Breeze, and until then stock up on Oust and candles.