Thursday, June 7, 2007

Attack of the Aqua Net

In my many years of living with a hyper-sensitive sniffer (that's my nose, btw), I've amassed an impressive mental catalog of various odors. When I encounter a new one, I do my best to quickly locate its origin and categorize its discomfort-causing level of putrescence for future avoidance. Then I move away from the odor's epicenter, sometimes holding my breath, sometimes just walking briskly, before my sniffer becomes overwhelmed and a headache or some sort of unattractive respiratory response ensues.

And then there was the time when I ran like a girl away from the candle-laden gift aisle at Bed, Bath & Beyond, eyes watering, holding my breath all the way to the back of the store. I did not inhale again until I was near the giant wall of kitchen and dining cutlery. I'm not allergic to those.

It was not a proud moment for me and I assure you that I don't normally run like a girl. But I was carrying one of those plastic shopping baskets in one hand, and it had a few breakable picture frames in it, and because of that I had to run with my arm sort of straight down on one side. I implore anyone to devise a method of running with one arm straight at one's side, and the other bending naturally at the elbow, that does not result in a stereotypically effeminate gait.

I find it far simpler to just log these many instances in my noggin and to avoid repeating similar activities in the future. The best way for me to do that is to keep my hyper-sensitive sniffer from discovering offensive odors in the first place. So, I file the smells and their level of affect into my bubbleboy brain, along with a mental location shot of where it came from. This coping method has served me well thus far in life. I haven't walked near the candle aisle at Bed, Bath & Beyond without taking a deep breath since, and certainly wouldn't think about lingering in similar areas of other stores without donning proper SCUBA gear and mosquito netting. [I'm not allergic to mosquitoes. I just hate the high-pitched sound their wings make when they try to fly into my ears. Naturally, I also despise the incessant ringing in those same ears that begins the moment I spastically smack myself in the side of the head in a lame attempt at shooing the little winged bastards.]

When following a car down the road, I remember to observe the condition of that car's rear bumper and tailpipe. If the exhaust is smokey in any way, or if the bumper looks as though its caked in coal dust, then past experience dictates that I should close off my car's air vents as a logical smell-avoidance precaution.

If I happen to be walking out a doorway and the person walking in the same door from outside has just exhaled the final puff of smoke from their cigarette break, I'll take a deep breath and hold it until I'm far enough away from the area of latent nicotine smog.

My smell-avoidance technique is effective 99 percent of the time.

The other one-percent is being held against its will inside the can of Aqua Net hair spray that is applied liberally to my co-worker's eighties-retro coiffure. The pungent chemical smell of this shit permeates every cubic inch of clean air to be found near the entrance to our office suite area where she sits. Necessity deems that I walk through this very area in order to reach my own desk each day.

Sometimes holding my breath works well.

Sometimes she walks into my office to ask a question or invade one of the file cabinets.

Sometimes I don't hear her coming and fail to shut down my odor receptors in time.

I'm convinced that this particular can of Aqua Net hair spray is the spawn of satan.


chet said...

Ah yes. The cleanser aisles can be an unbearable assault on the senses.

There's a public bathroom across the hall from my office that demands a similar breathing technique upon entry.

well then, jenji said...


Being that I am a fellow Bubble'r, I'd like to make you aware of another sibiling to Satan...and that would be, the Aussie hairspray. Equally as pungent and considerably more crunchy. Far more dangerous in that the logo on said spray is of an adorable kangaroo...what better to enchant the doo of the wicked? I should hope that "she" will never stray from her hairdoo, circa 1990's, b/c if she decides to update her doo, you're screwed. Aussie is the wicked stepsibling of Satan and super duper pissed that Mom and Dad never gave it the attention it deserved. Look out. Just a warning, from one bubble to another.

And now, in classic Lisperella form, I shall ring you with the details. :)

chet said...


I do think that, during my youth, my very own mother may have spritzed an ounce or ten of that wicked stepsibling of Satan called Aussie.

The memory is fuzzy, but I do recall seeing an adorable kangaroo just before I lost consciousness.

Thanks so much for the heads up.


well then, jenji said...

Ah, your mother. (nodding) Yes, tell me more. (stroking chin) How does that make you feeeeeel?

I'll give you another hint so that you may have easier access to your repressed memories of Aussie and Mom. The kangaroo laden can/bottle is.....PURPLE! Super purple. Like, Dirk Digler purple, if ya know what I'm sayin, ummmkay?

i hope this helps you along in your mommmy issues.