Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Yo homes, smell ya later!

We usually eat lunch at Tower City which-for those not from Cleveland-is a mall. Every day after we finish eating we walk down to this little store that sells candy and lottery tickets and hosiery for black women only. Today was no different. However, when we walked out of the store, I noticed something a little...funky. Actually it wasn't a little funky. It was pure funk. It was the smell of body funk. I turned to Erik and Scott, "Do you guys smell that? That's B.O., right?" They wrinkled their noses. "Uh...yes it is," they said. Figuring it would go away in a few seconds, I continued to breathe normally.

A couple minutes later, I turned to the guys again, "It's still here, right? I'm not crazy-it still smells like B.O.?" They confirmed that I was not crazy. It did indeed still smell. My eyes began to water, and I decided to breathe through my mouth.

A minute later, "Seriously-what the hell going on in here? Is that from a human?" At this point we were incapable of carrying on a conversation about anything besides the rancid B.O. We had walked through half of the lower level of the mall, and not only was the smell still there, it's power had not even diminished. Scott felt sure we were slowly triangulating the position of the source. And he was right. It was not more than a few seconds later that the smell physically reached up and slapped me in the face*. I looked up and quickly saw the source. As I was about to warn Erik who was slightly ahead of us, he turned back to talk to us. "So we--AH!!" The smell had slapped him in the face as well, and I actually saw his head jerk back violently.

The source of the smell was a few feet ahead of us heading toward the escalators. Luckily there was an alternate route. We could cross under the escalators past Original Cookie and out the other side. This route poses a risk as there is always a high probability I will stop and buy cookies. But I didn't have a choice. I was literally suffocating right in front of Panera, and I was not going to go out like that. "Go! Go! Go!" we all yelled and ran by the Original Cookie. When we got to the other side, the air was clear, but we weren't out of the woods yet. We had to get to the escalator before the smell did.

From our new vantage point, we got a clearer look at the offender. It was a very large woman wearing a giant t-shirt and no pants. Seriously she didn't have pants on. She was also wearing only one shoe. The other one she was carrying in her hands along with roughly 27 million shopping bags. She was moving at a slow but steady pace carefully dispersing her poison evenly throughout the mall. We hopped onto the escalator in enough time to avoid the stank.

Scott posed the question, "Just how many showers do you have to miss until you reach that point?" I'm no scientist, but I think the answer is "a whole effing lot of effing showers holy shit for the love of God what just happened I never thought I would be so happy to be breathing in downtown Cleveland air". At least that is what was going through my mind. Scott said that the B.O. Scale must be like the Richter Scale where each number indicates an increase in magnitude by the power of 10. So 8 is 10 times more powerful than 7. We hypothesized that most people reside between 0 and 1 on the B.O. Scale, and this lady was at a 9.9. The highest recorded level of B.O. in the world.

I feel like I need to take a shower again because I'm pretty sure it's still on me.

*Scott would later say that if we had that moment on tape and we played it in slow motion, you could probably see my cheek moving as if being slapped by some invisible force. Okay not just some invisible force. The force of body odor manifesting itself in physical form.


Anonymous said...

This is why I left NYC in 1985. Imagine being squeezed into a subway with hundreds of people like that, or in an elevator. And the thing is...stank sticks. Ugh

Anonymous said...

Good call on this one Sarah - you detected it well before we actually entered the 100 foot Circle of Blah.

Oh my lord it was even worse than could possibly be described in 1000 words or less. I'm pretty sure I actually SAW the stink, a microsecond before it reached up and bitch slapped me. And WTF was with her walking with the one shoe in her hand? It looked like a brand new shoe. And while she had missed maybe 500 baths in a row, she hadn't missed any meals.

I'm just sayin'.


John said...

I'm so glad I wasn't there. Because sense of smell is also like the Richter scale where most people's sense of smell is a 0-1 mine is a 9.9. If my nose smelled her stank it would have been armageddon.

-jess said...

Oh my god that is awful. I'm glad it happened to you and not me, and I'm glad I live in a small town where there is so much open, fresh air, that smells like that immediately disperse.

Networkchic said...

You are lucky...you can escape the smell. Every day I have to sit next to the fat guy that smells of urine. That PP smell, will drive you to drink.

slcup said...

So she wasn't wearing pants? Was the t-shirt long enough to cover the buttocks of stank or were her cheeks and bagina hanging out for all the world to smell? GROSS.

heather said...


I woked in a dermatology clinic where we once had a man with some of that b.o. you were talking about - we went down to the morgue and got some of the ointment to put under our noses, put on surgical masks and proceded to act like the guy and our get up was completely normal!

heather said...

ya' know what - she probably wasn't wearing pants because that would have made her create even more stinkum' vapors - she was probably doin' you a favor and "airing out" the goods.... I'm just saying.

Johnny Virgil said...