I find it hard to write anything flippant, or in the vein of my usual sarcastic posts, after my last post about the loss of my friend. I cannot, however, continue to ignore the fact that my flippant and sarcastic ways are rearing their ugly heads sooner than I might otherwise like or deem appropriate. So please forgive me for the sharp turn in the other direction.
There I am – sitting at my desk at the office – when I begin to realize that something is wrong. It’s an odor. An offensive odor. A pervading, sickly sweet odor with an undercurrent of something else equally as off-putting. Imagine if you will, a human body which has not seen a bath or a shower in several days coupled with layers of gardenia scent added in a failed attempt to mask the body odor. I’m shuddering just remembering this. It was nauseating. And, though we who investigated still haven’t definitively solved the mystery of the awful, all-encompassing scent that permeated the entire east end of the building, it is gone now, hopefully never to return.
Why? Why would I tell you this brief, but horrible story? Simply this: There are some people who are of the mistaken belief that the world revolves around them. Some of those same sadly misguided individuals also believe what they do (say/think) could not possibly affect anyone else. And further, why would someone’s use of scent, in whatever form, be offensive to me? Because, I happen to be one of those unfortunate individuals who is highly sensitive to scents, perfumes, colognes, after-shaves, scented candles…you get the picture. They make my eyes water, my lungs seize (remember, I’m asthmatic), and even on occasion nauseate me – as was the case with the particular odor described above.
I would very much like to understand what possesses a person to continue to wear scent such as described above, to a place of business. Has the media chatter (social or otherwise) over the last however many years not made you a believer in a non-scented workplace?
To put it another way, how many times have you walked by the break room (should you be fortunate enough to have one at work) and wondered, “Good grief! What is that smell?” You know full-well that someone just reheated their garlic & onion salmon from the night before. (I don’t know if there really is such a thing as garlic & onion salmon, but it was the most malodourous food I could think of on short notice.) Or maybe someone just took their shoes off under the desk. Either way, it stinks. And that smell has now invaded the pores of your skin and you feel as if you are traveling with it wherever you go. It’s off-putting, to say the least, and makes you really want to bathe.
Food odor issues at the workplace not-withstanding, let’s talk about personal scent. Yup – we’ve all got one. Our very own, gifted to us at birth, personal scent. Not taking into account the soap and shampoo we may use at shower-time. The deodorant we may use after bathing. (Yes, please?) And now, let’s consider it finished, shall we? Pretty please? You do not need two layers of scented body lotion, a dab of perfume behind each ear, at the base of your throat or on your wrists, or even that scented body spray. And please, if you’re even considering patchouli, just…don’t. You’ll do us all a favor. However, if you feel you must apply so liberally the created scent as enhancement to your natural one – stay home. No one particularly feels like smelling the odor-trail you’re leaving behind.
Those of us trying to work will thank you. You may not know we’re thanking you…but we are. I promise.