The Nose Knows
Today my nose fell off of my face.
But let me back track a little bit before hand.
I’m not sure when or where or why or who decided that the middle of April was a good time to have a second winter, but here it is colder than it was for the month of March, coupled with a rain that makes one’s knees swell and hair frizz.
(I really do need a haircut by the way, it looks like a lion’s mane, but I’m not keen on a 30 Euro shampoo-cut styling; not to mention the little language barrier)
But here it is wetter than ever – something Phillipe says is normal and necessary for France if I want to keep eating my acid (not really) fruit. (I do like green bananas) I could go with a warm spring rain, but mostly it hovers around 12 degrees every day.
And to think that there was a point when I was joyous for 12 degrees!
But I’m a little worried because by week’s end my friend from school will be coming to Paris for the weekend and I’d really rather her have a good impression of my city (yes, I have claimed it as such) and not a dreary wet one. Besides, how are we supposed to go up the Eiffel Tour when the weather seems to be more suited for London than Paris.
I want it to be warm and sunny and so that I can show her nooks and crannies that are good to visit, in addition to the more trafficked areas and so that they make for a good photo opportunity. After all, shouldn’t one’s first visit to Paris be an unforgettable one?
Perhaps the best part after this weekend then is that I will be spending the week in Seville, Spain following her visit to Paris. It’s the first time any one in the family will have gone to Spain and I am looking forward to warmer weather – in addition to it being the week of the Feria – something I hear that is not to be missed; sleep pending.
Also bull fights! So while I hope that my weather will be good, that she too will have a great take-away experience from the whole thing. It might also be a positive thing that I’m going to a country where they actually speak a language I can understand without – what others tell me I don’t do – talking like a toddler.
Needless to say, I want the weekend to come by faster than it’s crawling speed right now.
Many pictures and (fuzzy) memories to be had. And a blog post surely.
But back to my nose.
After class today, after getting on the RER, a lady wearing the traditional African garb and a little bit of a hobble came and sat across the seat from me.
Immediately it felt that something that curled up and died inside my nose, my stomach did this uneasy flop as a dull ache worked its way into my brain, trying to breathe through my mouth. I swear the dead must smell better than this woman – who by all other accounts neither looked homeless nor crazy – because after about 45 seconds of sitting across from her the urge to vomit was too much and I moved to the other end of the car just to get away.
However, so potent was this woman’s body odor that not one person could stand to sit next to her, and even at the other end of the car you could still catch a good whiff – gasping for air when the train lurched to a stop and you could open the door.
I’m not sure how it is possible for a person to have such a serious stench about them. And I know they say that men have a lesser sense of smell then women but everyone was cowering in fear against this odor. I knew that the metro smelled bad – but this woman took it to another level.
Even hours later, as I sit back and think about it, trying to find words for the horror my nose faced today, I can still find it, so powerful is the memory of a smell. I feel as I must flush my nose out with menthol.
If there ever was a use for the word ghastly, I swear that this would be it because I honestly cannot express to you how disgusting and fowl that smell was. Unlike anything – but I am convinced that it would wake the dead.
I chose to take another bus home because I could not bear being in a smaller cramped bus if she could fill out an entire RER car.
They say that scent memories are the strongest and that they jerk us away to a certain time and place when we feel them again – and I can certainly tell you the smell has been burned into my nostrils, never to be forgotten.
Now I know you may shake your head and say that this is not a very nice post or a nice topic to write about a person – who I will never see again. But I cannot pity her much for how bad do you have to get where people visibly and rapidly have stand up and leave your proximity before it dawns on you to bathe? I am merely glad I was born when I was and not in the 18th century.
This woman was neither homeless nor ostensibly crazy. I’m not sure what it was that allowed her to get into such a state of stench. Honestly, at this point she should have stood outside in the rain and let the cool April showers was away what it could.
Now that I have perhaps painted a figment of what attacked my nose this afternoon I’ve some positive news to share with you, albeit not my own.
Phillipe got a job as a Skipper on a race boat at the end of May. In a 2 day all expense paid trip, he will be in charge of this entire boat and it’s crew – details forthcoming – to hopefully win some kind of honest-to-god sail boat race with prizes.
It’s particulalry good for Phillipe as it will provide experience for him for when he will buy (with a little faith, trust, and pixie dust) his own sail boat. It’s also given him something to look forward to and he brims with excitement; something that we toasted ice cream eskimo’s to.
And then this afternoon he had another job appointment, and they will follow up with him on Thursday. If he gets this job it will be his first real job in 4 months. I am keeping my fingers crossed for him as he for me with my law school applications.
As the saying goes, “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end”.
Life continues to thrum on at a rhythmic pace and hopefully my next post will be about Paris-Seville adventures.