Flagrantly Fragrant

About a year ago, a number of family members went to lunch one weekend afternoon. As usual, because we were too busy being loud and embarrassing to eat all our food, we took a lot of it home. We dropped my grandmother off at her place, and I carried her food inside for her. I went to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator to put the food inside. As I opened the door, I was overcome by a wave of odor that had no equal. The only way I can explain it is by telling you that the refrigerator had not been plugged in for at least a decade, and it was never cleaned out. I didn’t catch much of a glimpse of its contents because I turned away in horror as I slammed the door, but there were multiple shades of green and brown in there, and I think something winked at me. I dropped the food on the counter and doubled over in a coughing fit. Feeling the urge to puke, my mother and younger sister were merely moving obstacles for me to dodge as I made my way for the door. I paced back and forth outside simultaneously trying to decide whether vomiting was the proper course of action, and whether I might’ve contracted the Ebola virus by inhaling those fumes. For the record, I did not puke, and obviously did not contract the virus, though I was convinced at that moment that each of those things had at least a 50% probability of happening.

I told you all of that to tell you this: This morning, as the elevator door was closing, I heard someone moving quickly toward the elevator so I lifted my foot into the door’s path to get it to open again. A woman entered the elevator without so much as a thank you and turned to face the door, standing directly in front of me. Suddenly I was enveloped in a wave of perfumey odor that all at once gave me the urge to cough and vomit, and it made my knees weaken. If I was Superman, this woman had not so much just bathed in kryptonite, but had been marinating in it for a solid 36 hours before immediately entering the elevator. I thought of the refrigerator door, and how the only difference between the two episodes is that I didn’t think the perfume was going to crusade against my immune system and destroy me from the inside out. I held my breath, and watched as the numbers on the display counted slowly down, and finally the doors opened on the ground floor. She exited, and I followed quickly and headed in a different direction before pausing to regain my breath. And then I vowed never to hold the elevator for anyone again.

Flagrantly Fragrant

8 Responses

  1. I hate it when people don’t say “thank you” for those little courtesies . . . it makes me want to slam doors in their faces. Well, ok, it makes me really want to tie them to a chair and whip some manners into them, but I don’t think that’s legal.


    Yeah, she basically said “Now that you’ve held the door for me, I will kill you with my fragrance.”

  2. Maybe she’d seen you around the building and was trying to woo you – - first by playing aloof, and then by concussing you with her parfum.

    Well, she does live on my floor. Chloroform would’ve been more effective.

    …I hope she doesn’t read this.

  3. You should have let one go in retaliation. ;-)

    Woahhh… did you, a woman, just suggest that should have ripped one? I mean, forget about the fact that there was a 3rd person on the elevator (that I did not mention), that you would even suggest that is awesome. Since you’re rather occupied at this time, do you have any sisters?

  4. I got on the elevator alone in my building not too long ago and, as the doors were closing, I noticed a rather foul odor. Since my building is only 8 stories tall, I figured I could tough it out. I occurred to me after a couple of floors that if the elevator stopped and someone else got on, they would automatically assume that I was responsible for it. I had the speech all worked out in my mind: “I feel compelled to say that that aroma was already present when I got on.” Then I realized that if somebody said that to me, I’d probably say, “yuh, right”. Fortunately, I made the entire trip alone.

    I like the episode of The Family Guy where Peter farts on the elevator and turns to the guy standing next to him and says “you did it.” I’d try that.

  5. Ha. I do, but she’s 21 and in Massachusetts. I’ll let you know when she comes to visit. ;-)

    And frankly, I think that 3rd person would have been a necessary casualty of war…

  6. See, the third person makes it all the more mysterious as to who the guilty party is.

    To the third party, it could have been you, or, more probably, the woman already trying to cover something up with her heavy perfume.

    And if the perfume woman is wondering, just give a slight nod to third party, insinuating his/her guilt.

  7. I always – ALWAYS – say, “You’re welcome!!!” when I hold the door for someone, whether they thank me or not. If they’ve neglected to, it’s just a little reminder to check their manners.

    Someone is going to kill me one day for this very reason, I’m certain.

  8. freckledk- so do i. and if we do get killed, so be it. totally worth it.

Leave a Reply