Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fragrant Frustrations

I am not a fan of walking into any mall-side entrance of a name-brand department store. Usually I am physically assaulted by an air-bath of competing perfumes and body colognes. My wife has no compassion for my condition and simply rolls her eyes as I immediately start to grasp my throat and gasp for breathable air. If you get into a small space with me such as an elevator or car, and have a fresh pat down of aftershave, I will react in much the same way. I know I am a little whiney but I prefer my own natural (yet tolerable) baby-stink over somebody else’s over-the-top skunk-o-rama ardour.

On one weekend we found our way to the desert sun in beautiful Palm Springs, California. It was a toasty day (as most of them are there) so we decided to take the Aerial Tramway from the base of Chino canyon to the top of the surrounding mountain range. The temperature differential is some 50 degrees or more and on this trip there was significant snow pack on the mountain. Knowing this and that we intended to take an ‘all terrain’ hike on the mountain the next day I bought some snow repellent treatment for our boots. I opened the can and it looked like a clear jelly mucous. The plan was to spread this goo all over our shoes and rub it into the lacings and stitches of the boots thereby making them water repellant. As you can guess, the odor of the product was a cross between Sterno Stove alcohol fuel, and the business end of a diesel exhaust pipe. We opened the hotel door to air out the room as we liberally applied the weatherproofing buttery spread.

The next morning, we got up bright and early and headed for the tram station. We bought our tickets and excitedly waited for our tram carriage to arrive. I believe each car is similar to the larger enclosed ski-lift trolleys at high-end ski resorts, so they hold 80 people and gear. With all those folks crammed into a relatively small space, the faintest odor is somewhat amplified by all those warm bodies. It was insignificant at first, but the smell seemed to grow at an exponential rate as we ascended the mountain and the air got colder. What started as an annoying ‘greasy rag’ smell, seemed to become more and more pungent. One of the patrons looked alarmed, and said “ Does anyone smell gasoline?”. Then the next person said “ I smell it too???”. As other ears in our sardine tin pricked up, yet a third rider queried the operator attendant alarmingly “Do you think we are leaking fuel for the tram’? My wife and I looked smugly at each other in knowing amusement – the tram is ALL ELECTRIC buddy – GET A CLUE! As the rumble of concern started to become more urgent the operator attendant sensed a brewing mutiny and assured everyone that we were safe and not to worry.

I turned ice cold as I realized it was our BOOTS and that evil diesel mucous jelly, that was smelling up the doomed tram. Minutes later my crisis was averted as the tram reached the apex off-load station. Everyone had become scared that the tram had a dangerous petrol leak on board but in essence they were only sniffing my stinky feet. Whew – and all that time I had been needlessly worried that I had overdone it a bit with my 10-W-40 ‘Real Man’ cologne!

1 comment:

  1. But did the SNOW retreat from your boots also holding its nose?
    Almost ALL perfume stinks. But if men buy the
    cheapest shaving lotion the odor vanishes quickly. I like Dollar General $1.50 kind in the tall green "Longneck" bottle. The alcohol in any of them makes your chafed face feel good after shaving skins it. The perfume content does nothing except make other people feel bad.
    PS -- If you visit us, please leave your boots outside the front door. Keeps male Tomcats from coming around marking their territory. Thanks.