What’s that smell?

One of the things you notice in any new place is the smell. The subtle differences that your nose can differentiate from the experience you are used to, but not quite identify the source. This is the quandary I found myself in last night as I was getting my ass repeatedly kicked by faux people on Chessmaster, and watching my faux rating plummet.

It’s gotten pretty nice here, and I had the windows in the flat open to let the light breeze in. Ahh. Wait. What is that smell? Fortunately, there wasn’t much concentration on the game at hand to lose. I could smell it coming from the kitchen. I looked down at my pan of teriyaki rice, and puzzled. I had already thrown out the last rice leftovers, and that only occurred when the refrigerator was opened. (How plain rice can get stinky, I don’t know. But that’d be a brief essay on microbiology, not chess and smells like you are participating in now.)

It slowly seeped into my head and nose that it was a burning plastic kind of smell. Very faint, and almost elusive, I could pick up the plastic-ness of it up at the fringe of my Spring battered senses. With concern, I drifted into the kitchen. Ok, maybe not so much as a drift as a hop-step-step. My brow furrowed at what I might find. The little stove that could is an electric one, and I thought maybe I didn’t turn the burner off. I hated to see what in the kitchen could heat enough to smell like plastic. I expected melted rayon-ish curtains!

But no, no that was not it. Not at all. Hmm. I stuck my head in the bathroom. All clear there. ::thinkthinkthink:: It was plastic-y but different, and I know I smelled it before. A few slow breathes later (to let the scent linger, you see), I had it. Someone was burning trash. They do that here, as many other places. The trash burning includes plastics.

You can see it being done as you drive through the hills and mountains. Little wreathes of white or black smoke coming from fields near villages quietly nestled in the rolling hills. (Picturesque, eh?) It is troubling to see, to be honest. I suppose years of Smokey the Bear have taken their toll, but there is something not quite right in my head about watching people rake their yard waste into neat piles that look remarkably like fresh graves and set them on fire.

With all this burning, you get the smells to go with. The damp vegetation burn, the plastic burn, the what in gods name was that burn! I don’t think it would trouble me as much if it didn’t drift into the flat when the neighbors did it. I am coming to grips with Spring here, which is no kinder than Spring “there”. This just adds to the malice of it all for me.

Other smells I have found, besides the delightful new soap in the OSCE restroom, are less notable. There is a diesel motor smell, especially in the morning, when the air is thick, and you are waiting on the side of a busy transit road for the shuttle bus to come. That one is interesting, because you descend into from the flat. Curious indeed. We are high enough up, and far enough from traffic, you don’t smell it even near the flat. I can’t describe the food smells. Food is food, and usually delightful. Occasionally, I meet someone who kind of makes my eyes water. I offer no conjecture.

Also, in this nose assault is the smell of Matchball. Matchball is a bar and tennis club. The bar part is poured concrete with Astroturf sort of flooring. Maybe it is a carpet of some sort. The part you should focus on is the musty basement smell that has increased through out winter and into Spring. I understand this is the cycle; it will dry up with summer, and begin again like the decay Phoenix in winter again.

Yes, more bad or queer smells than good ones. I think I have two reasons for this. Something has to smell REALLY damned good for you to take note, like the new OSCE restroom soap. It doesn’t take much foulness to get you talking though! Also, it is kind of like moods. Everyone sees happiness as a shared thing, easy to understand. Sadness and pain are always seen as personal. After all, how many happy poems have you read? Foul smells are personal. You don’t believe anyone could know them like you. Fun, huh?

Posted by Andrew     

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