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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Did You Smell That?

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.


mbuna53 said...

In college I used to work with a guy at the college radio station (KQAL 89.5 FM) who I swear bathed in cologne. He was/is a nice guy, but a bit of a nerd, so you had a chance to escape if you smelt him coming.

"...quarterly tracking of the use of ballpoint versus gel-roller pens and the implications thereof"

I hope you made this up and that somebody does not have to actually do this.

Pearl said...

Now Mbuna, you know I never make things up!
Mwa ha ha ha haaaaaa!

mbuna53 said...

Riiiight. I forgot. What was I thinking?

Tami said...

See..the other night I put a quick squirt of perfume on before I had to meet a client. But we're talking - a 20 minute drive in the car after said squirt and before said meeting. I did ONE squirt..and I STILL felt like it was too much.

I don't want to be the crazy lady that wears too much perfume. Think subtle...subtle.

Pearl said...

Tami, a sweet squirt is perfect for all of us -- just a littel whiff of how nice it would be to get up close... Anything that makes your throat feel like you need to hoick something up -- as in the case of this person -- is just too much!

Talullah said...

I have an old blog up in the attic somewhere on this particular subject. It refers to some of the patients who come to the clinic where I work. They are from another continent and apparently it is common to smell of some kind of scented oil/weird root cooked for days in a stockpot/talcum powder combo. I'm not sure what that smell is exactly but you can smell them coming from the parking lot.

derfina said...

Heh. You said "sweet squirt".


Karen McQ. said...

Pearl, you kill me!

Susan said...

I double dog dare you to ask her if she's trying to cover up some kind of infection...

Thanks for stopping by stopcallingmethat. I appreciate your visit AND your kind words!

Pearl said...

Tami, I have friends who are advised to smack me in the head if I ever buy a Coach purse (or any purse that costs more than what I normally carry with me), get a tattoo on my neck, or show up anywhere reeking of ANYTHING!

Talullah, That remind me of when the first Hmongs showed up in Minnesota in the 70s and would put whole fish in the microwave back when I was working loading docks. PEW!

Derfina, You're as bad as I am.
:-) I love it!

Karen, I aims to please.

Susan, Maybe I should! I'm thinking the confrontation and the subsequent Witness Relocation Program I'd need to escape her would make for juicy bloggin'!


Barbara Blundell said...

Another cracker Pearl ! How do you do it ? What a hard act to follow. What can I say about my day -I've pranced around the gym and cleaned the house- that's it -riveting stuff

Pearl said...

Hi, Barbara.
This prancing about the house -- was it to music? Do your neighbors look forward to it, or are they concerned for your wellbeing? :-)

ICKY said...

If it was a dude, I would say hes clearly overcompensating for something.....would that be sexist to say of a woman?

Blue Blaze Irregular #1 said...

It must be a "special" smell...makes me think of Polo, and the 16 year olds that discover it for the first time and think a bottle can last for up to, oh, 10 separate uses/dousings.

Judy said...

I can remember as a child going to the movies and there was always an elderly lady there with so much perfume on, and it was so strong you could smell it throughout the entire theater. This brought that memory back so vividly! As children we would make faces, cover our noses, etc. Maybe, you should try doing that when you see her. lol.

Judi "Jlo" Moran said...

Another funny one, Pearl.
I got a mental picture of this lady!

skywaykate said...

icky - I have had the "pleasure" of knowing the woman Ms. Pearl is referring to, and I don't think it's sexist for you to say that, in this case.

Instead of asking if she's got an infection, you need to cover your nose and make faces at her every time you see her, like Judy suggested! Now that I would love to witness!