The Terrors of the Hidden World


Have I ever mentioned how my awful sense of smell is?  Awful may not even be the right word, nonexistent is probably closer to the truth.

I have a beautiful pink rose called “April in Paris.” Isn’t that charming?  It’s famous for its intense, heady aroma and friends who’ve seen it blooming attest to that in raving terms.  Yet when I shove my nose right into the very center of the blossoms, I can only detect the very faintest of rose scent.  I am nose blind.  R Man for years insisted boxwood had a very distinctive smell which I never once knew.  We would be strolling through some lovely parterre and he would suddenly demand “Can’t you smell that?”  “Smell what? I would counter.  He seemed to be convinced I was just being contrary.  And then we would be off on one of those on-going squabbles that are such a feature of long time companionship and which spinsters never seem to grasp.

So what are the few things that actually make a dent in my limited olfactory sense?

  • the pungent funk of stinky old man B.O.
  • farts by people in line in front of me
  • cat pee

Which makes it all the stranger that last week Super Agent Fred and I were noodling around  in my guest room, vaguely in preparation of Diane von Austinburg’s upcoming visit (yay!) when he spluttered “Dear god, did Saki pee in here?”

I claimed not smell anything and kept doing so as I leaned in closer and closer until suddenly I was hit by ammoniatic reek.  A dense cloud of it.  Probably took a year off my life, one I really can’t afford at this late stage.

Poor Diane already has plenty enough to put up with in visiting me so I determined to clean the piss up.  I knew that cat piss shows up under a black light, so I bought a small UV flashlight to narrow down the actual site.

It was very much like being in one of those forensic cop shows, but without the terse dialogue and dreadful puns.  Amazingly, even though I was choking on the fumes, nothing glowed.  What?

Since I wasn’t having any luck in the stinky spot, I idly started flashing the light around on the hall and office floors.  Holy shit.  It looked like the aftermath of serial killer’s vacation.  Every single spot Saki has every puked on (and there were an alarming number) shone like a brilliant purple Jackson Pollack canvas.

If you are an animal owner and you are interested in being horrified about your home hygiene, go ahead and try one of these UV tests, although I have to warn you, you will never sleep well again. Years ago, a vet examining Saki mentioned that “cats don’t vomit for no reason.”  I gaped at him, stunned at his lack of experience.  Obviously a dog guy,  Through the many, many cats I have lived with, they have vomited because they were bored, or mad, or because they ran across a spot the hurled on years before and were feeling nostalgic, but I don’t call that reason or excuse.  I think it’s simply perverse.

Anyway, I gotta go mix up a batch of hot water, vinegar and dish soap and attack the scene of Saki’s urine crimes.

Chris Rockway

Why can’t I have something like this to sniff in the guest room?  Why?

12 responses »

  1. Black light? Yikes. You’re a brave man. Braver than me.
    Thankfully, I can’t smell anything much of anything either….can’t tell you how beneficial that handicap is around here.


    • Oh I know. When I think of walking through the French Quarter and being assaulted by the pungent aroma of rotting shrimp wafting from the gutter, well, I’m certainly not nostalgic.


  2. Strange, I have a really pitiful sense of smell too. Comes in handy when a woman strolls in wearing too much patchouli. But, frustrating when you really need to get a good whiff.


    • Frustrating is the very word. My garden is full of plants famed for their aromatics, jasmine and honeysuckle and brugmansia and cereus and roses out the yingyang and I can’t smell one of them. But let a skunk drop by and I know all about it.


  3. Ooo, you didn’t tell me there would be a UV flashlight to play with. I look forward to visiting the scenes of Saki’s many crimes (you *know* what an easy house guest I am)!


  4. Also, I remember having the boxwood discussion with Rman one time the two of you were visiting and you were (very kindly) cutting back my giant hedgerow of them. And we were just standing around watching. Imagine.


  5. Try this little trick, stick your index finger in your mouth, get it nice and wet (go on, you know you want to), now stick your finger up your nose lubricating all around your nostril, do the same with the other one, now go outside and smell the roses or the cat shit. Use a chapstick in polite company.


  6. You know, I’ve been thinking about porn… (based on our convos in SF, I suppose that’s hardly a surprise). Should I be encouraged or dismayed that I knew immediately who the fetching lad in your photo is?

    He was such a talented young thing, too. Enthusiastic. I like a man who enjoys his work…


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