There’s a woman at my work place that you can smell coming down the hallway. Even in the lunchroom, rife with the smells of burnt popcorn, microwaved frozen dinners claiming to have a quarter of a calorie apiece and the aroma of a hearty fish-head stew (I may be exaggerating on that one), you can smell her perfume.
It’s almost visible, this perfume cloud; and I’ve daydreamed more than once (I admit that my fantasy life needs a little tweaking lately) about what she must be thinking as she lifts that bottle every morning and sprays and sprays and sprays…
Actually, I’m not even sure that it’s perfume. It might be hairspray. She might have a dozen of those pine-tree car deodorizers hanging inside each sleeve for all I know. Whatever it is, it has been with her/on her/attached to her for long enough and with sufficient potency as to have infiltrated her very pores. When she moves, it moves with her, a bubble of powdery, aerosol-ed chemicals; and when she leaves, some of it stays behind, sliding insidiously up one’s nostrils, triggering sneezing spasms and facial tics.
Can there be an up-side to this daily assault?
Oddly enough, as with most things, yes. Yes, there can be.
You see, this person is not an entirely pleasant person; and whether she’s saying things like “Support staff doesn’t wear pants on the executive floor” (which you’ve got to admit sounds like a different kind of workplace opportunity and is rather intriguing) or is volunteering you for ridiculous tasks (“I think Pearl would be the perfect person to spearhead our quarterly tracking of the use of ballpoint versus gel-roller pens and the implications thereof”), if you can smell her coming, you’ve got a chance to get away.
The smell, you see, acts as the bell on this particular cat.
I used to try to work within the system, volunteering for committees, task forces, what-have-you. I used to try to work with her, because large corporations are made up of all kinds of people, some who make you sneeze and some who don’t. But since the day she aggressively tried to get me to send an e-mail to Human Resources recommending her as “Director of Administrative Assistants”, aka Queen of the Secretaries, I’ve pulled back significantly…
Do you smell that? She’s coming down the hall.
I gotta run.
5 hours ago