On Monday, a few hours into my work day, I became painfully aware that someone around me was wearing ghastly cheap perfume. Pungent, offensive, floral perfume. The kind that is found on the shelves at K-Mart. Not in the glass cases, just on the open shelves. That cheap.
I've nothing, in theory, against cheap perfume. There are gems to be found in that world. And let's face it, my own favored brand, while definitely a tiny bit expensive for me, is no Chanel No. 5. But this was, My Goodness, Just. So. Bad. As the day wore on, and the scent grew stronger, I began to wonder what could possibly be behind the decision made by one of my co-workers to suddenly sport something so... challenging. Perhaps in the store, lightly sprayed on the inside of her wrist, it had smelled better? Less like a combination of molasses, gardenias and alcohol? It started to burn my nose. I could actually feel the little hairs in there withering away to nothing, brought down to their follicles by a $11.99 spray.
I longed to complain out loud, longed to commiserate with someone near me. Surely I couldn't be the only one in such pain, both physical and emotional?! But of course, I could say nothing without offending the owner of the stench, and so I suffered in silence all day, growing ever more nauseated and befuddled with each passing hour.
Leaving the office that day was more of a relief than usual. As I stepped into the open air, I breathed a sigh of relief. I'd survived. I climbed into my car, and there, in the comfort of my own space, I realized that some of the stink had gotten on me. I could still smell it. I frantically started sniffing my jacket, my arms. Yes, it was on me! It was stuck on me! I raised the top of my tee shirt to my nose. It was on that, too! And... wait... it was REALLY on that. I smelled again. Man. Then something terrible occurred to me. I gingerly sniffed my armpit. Yeah. Um... that smell, THE smell... that would be my new deodorant.