What’s That Smell?

Nowadays, that’s the first question I ask myself whenever I go anywhere.  It’s like a little guessing game, where most of the odors that make my nose perk are pretty recognizable, only they’re about 47 trabillion times stronger than usual.

It came pretty early, within the first month. We’d drive around town, and the restaurants, the traffic, and Pleasant Grove would attack my nose. Most of the odors before pregnancy were relatively mild. I mean, driving past Pleasant Grove never disappoints if I crave the smell of sewage or rotten vegetables, but whenever we pass the unPleasant Gross exit now, it’s almost unbearable. No offense to anyone who lives there; you probably live away from the smell, which seems to lurk along the freeway.

There’s also some farmspace near the corner of 400 South and Geneva Road that smells like the land of fire and brimstone for about 5 seconds. Whenever we’re driving this corner, Reilly and I always accuse each other of farting.

When we drive closer to downtown Salt Lake City, around 500 South, along the freeway, it smells like nachos. Like nacho cheese. Not like sharp cheese, but definitely more mild and with jalapeno peppers. It’s not a smell I mind very much at all but look forward to whenever we get to that part of town.

I walk into church, and I can smell everyone. I can smell that woman’s lotion and that man’s aftershave and that baby’s spit-up. I can smell cooking oil on your skin and your greasy fast food breakfast from the other day.  I can smell somebody’s minty gum and that kid’s fruity shampoo and don’t even ask me what the speakers are even talking about because all the smells are speaking way more loudly and with more appeal (or repulsion) than the speakers. I mean, I do have to focus, because it’s church. And church is more important than my hypersensitive nose. We’ll just have to keep that in mind.

Not every smell bothers me. Lots of aromas are wonderful, and I’d love to spin around in fragrant air all day, but the fact is that there are also bad odors. And when they’re bad, they’re really bad.

There’s a women’s restroom in the Wilkinson Center on the second floor, close to the memorial room and ballroom. I’m sure you know which one I mean. The other day I went to campus to wait for Reilly to get out of class. I needed to go to the bathroom because that’s a pretty consistent condition these days, and when I opened the door, I felt my face scrunch and my eyes roll to the back of my head. I braced myself inside the door frame. Then I considered holding my pee to go to the bathroom downstairs by the bowling alley or to the other bathroom just down the hall. But I have more or less trained myself to go whenever I need to go, so I forged ahead into the fecal fog.

Undoubtedly, it’s a busy bathroom. The Wilkinson Center is a major campus hub, and I should have known that the bathroom would be stinky, but this complete ambush on my nosehairs convinced me that no one knows how to courtesy-flush or disinfect/deodorize. And this bathroom is a place where a lot of mothers change piles of poopy diapers. Because there are a lot of young mothers who go to BYU, y’all. There seems to be no ventilation, and when I entered that bathroom at 8:30 that one evening, all the quadrillions of microscopic, feculent particles had amassed during the day not only to form a humid, boggy marsh around the stalls, but something, somewhere that felt like another dimension. It felt like I had crossed over into an ethereal, methanous space of utter grossness, where I wasn’t stepping in it but walking through it. Think about it. (Or not.) And to think I’m growing another human that will soon contribute to the world’s sewage (who, technically, already is). I mean, there are sacrifices, and there are sacrifices. I mean, I have to do the noble thing.

Next time, I’ll just find a different bathroom.

And whatever that smell is, I probably know, but for the most part, I’d rather not.

Quarantined Himself to the Study

Poor thing.

Yeah, that’s a bucket. Just in case.

He ate a few crackers. He ate some soup. He got ready for bed, took some medicine. Drank some water.

I prepared the futon. He got in it and under the blankets. We had family prayer, and now he will sleep.

I probably will not.

Get better, love.

Break

I just got back from the bathroom. TMI, I know.

As you may remember, the bathroom is part of my roommate’s master bedroom.

When I walked into her room, she was on the phone with a boy.

I closed the bathroom door, I did my business.

Then I stood for a while and didn’t flush the toilet SO I COULD EAVESDROP ON HER CONVERSATION.

I listened for a few seconds. I only heard some giggling and her voice I struggle to hear when a door isn’t between us. I couldn’t make out complete words, but the sound was flirty, all floating and with a lilty inflection. I’m sure I heard some coy smiles, too.

Then I remembered what I was doing and flushed the toilet and washed my hands.

I opened the bathroom door. My roommate smiled at me, or maybe it was just a residual smile because she was still on the phone with the boy. Her voice was louder, of course; I could understand actual words. But I couldn’t stand there and stare at her talking. That’s just rude. I smiled back and waved as I exited her room.

Now I’m here, documenting the event, so the world could possibly conclude 1)I’m a lousy friend for eavesdropping and/or 2)how much water a household could save just by having a master bedroom with a bathroom to share and a roommate having an interesting conversation while you’re using the bathroom.

Maybe I should have pressed my ear to the door?