Bathing is encouraged.Posted: February 18, 2010
The smell was so powerful it was hard to decide whether the man generated the smell, or the smell created the man.
Mrs. O, the Omawari-son and I went out to grab a bite at a brick oven pizza place near home last night. The pizza and service were great, as was the company. We had a nice talk as we ate until Mrs. O asked the question.
Do you smell that?
I didn’t. Then I did. Right before I did, I saw a look of horror in my son’s eyes as it hit him. The smell crossed the table and snapped my head back. The three of us looked at one another through watering eyes. To say that this was the smell of someone who hadn’t bathed for days would be an understatement. It was the smell of someone who hadn’t bathed since we all were talking about Y2K.
This smell was so substantial it actually had mass.
The check was on the way. We had no escape until I could pay it. Who? Who could be the bearer of such a powerful scent? Was it the bus boy? He zipped by and broke through the smell momentarily, allowing fresh air to reach us. It wasn’t him, nor was it any other member of the restaurant staff working near us.
The person responsible for this smell was beyond ripe. They had gone past ripeness and begun to ferment like fruit left on the vine.
Him! Brown hat!
Mrs. O detected the man who was the host of the smell. He went past our table on the way back to his table from the restroom, emanating his pungent payload. I turned to look and was hit by a fresh blast of funk that singed my eyebrows. Tears streamed down my face as my body’s defenses tried to protect the delicate membranes of my eyes. It was him. The first wave had hit us after I saw him come in and head for the bathroom while the woman with him was seated in a booth.
This smell was evolved beyond any other odor that came before it. I am certain that it was capable of malicious intent.
The man who carried the smell was with a woman. The woman was attractive. I don’t know what kind of woman goes around with a man who smelled like her date did, but until tonight I would not have believed it was her. What was she thinking? If blind means you can’t see, and a deaf person can’t hear, the only way she could justify being escorted by this man was if she where the equivalent of deaf or blind, but in the sense of smell. Opening the door to greet him when he picked her up had to have gotten her a blast of smell that would have triggered a justifiable “I’m sorry, something’s come up” from any woman with a functioning nose.
If two people who both smelled like this were in the same room for an appreciable period of time, the smell would create its own gravity. It would pull moderate sized objects, like patio tables, into its orbit.
The couple sat in a booth near the door. The booth was partially enclosed on three sides by glass. I think the intent was to keep the booth’s occupants from getting hit with cold blasts of air when people entered the restaurant. The effect of the glass, in this case, was to concentrate the smell, then send it out to do its nefarious work. People between our table and that booth began giving each other the look that said “do you smell that?”
This was not normal B.O. This was a scent tsunami.
I questioned why the woman would be out with him, but that was hardly fair. She’s not responsible for him not knowing how to operate a bar of Ivory soap. Why would he just not take care of himself? How could he not know his smell was becoming the topic of conversation in the restaurant among those who could withstand the burning sensation it inflicted? People were not subtle about noticing the smell. They couldn’t be subtle, it was triggering their fight or flight reactions.
When I was a teen, there was talk of a neutron bomb being developed that would kill people but leave buildings intact. Bottling this guy’s smell would be cheaper, but more dangerous to produce.
I just tossed money on top of the bill and we got up to leave. Someone opened the door, creating a rush of air as we walked past the booth of olfactory offense toward the door. A blast of the smell hit us. My knees buckled. I considered crawling out like they recommend doing when a building is on fire. Instead we did sort of a panicked walk. I considered holding my breath, but figured that it would damage my lungs to keep that foul air inside me for long.
Mrs. O pointed out, as we clung to a tree outside the restaurant trying to avoid passing out before we could get air back into our lungs, that there are medical conditions that could have caused the man to smell. We all decided that wasn’t the case here. There were too many things about the man we observed that indicated he had just opted out on the idea of bathing.
My dear readers and friends, I write this story not to chastise you for hygienic violations. You’re far to worldly to commit a sin such as the man in the brown hat did. I write this story as a catharsis for me…this was absolutely the most horrible smell I have ever experienced.
My throat still kind of burns this morning.