Sometimes, well meaning gestures can end in disaster. But we have no choice but to love that person anyway.
A few years ago, my husband and I worked a sort of relay system, between his 7pm-7am (Tues-Fri) shift and my 9am-5.30pm (Mon-Fri). When I got home from work, he would take the car and head out, then I’d take it back in the morning when he got home.
So, on this Monday evening in the middle of June, I stopped at my neighborhood grocery store on my way home. Monday was my preferred grocery shopping day -less crowded, no rush to get home, and I wouldn’t need to take the kids with me. Shopping with the kids inevitably meant that I would be weeding out unidentified items at the register.When I got home, my husband, sweet man that he is, offered to unload the car and put the groceries away. Who could refuse that offer? I grabbed my pocketbook and rushed inside to the sanctuary of an air-conditioned house.
On Wednesday morning when I took the car from my husband, I detected a funky smell. That evening, the smell was more pronounced, but I chalked it down to maybe the mats got wet from rain the night before. Thursday morning, the smell was more like a dozen sweaty, unwashed bodies crammed into the backseat. No time to check the wheel wells for trapped roadkill, or a small rodent that may have made its nest in the trunk, I just drove. On the way home, after leaving the car parked at the train station, baking in the summer heat, I decided to stop to get air freshener. I got them all, and heading home, my car had a complex smell of pine, flowers, baking soda, vinegar……and stink. An insidious stink, that permeated the car. My husband took a look into the undercarriage before he headed out, but there was nothing there. He would remove the mats when he got to work and made sure that they dried out before he replaced them for his drive home the next morning. He didn’t think the smell was that bad. Maybe I was being super sensitive? I was positive that I was not crazy.
Friday morning. I am not looking forward to my 15 minute drive to the train at all. Surprisingly, the smell was not that bad. It seemed to be receding, maybe because the mats were dry? or an effective cocktail of air fresheners? or, because the night had been really cool? No matter, I was grateful that I could close the windows and use the AC. That’s when things really started to rumble downhill, because when I picked up the car at the end of the day, the stench was barf worthy. Open all four doors and windows worthy. Spray four different air fresheners worthy. On the way home, I alternated between open windows and closed with AC running, just to get some relief. I hoped I wouldn’t get pulled over for speeding, because with the stench in the car, I’d probably have to explain to the cops about the dead body in the trunk. In. The. Trunk. Face-palm, whack-my-forehead-hard reaction. We never did check the trunk for the source of the smell.
I raced home, screeched into my driveway and popped the trunk. My open trunk was now this majestic homing device for flies. Big, black and green bottle flies behaved as if I just rang the dinner bell. They came zooming in, and they beat me to it. As I peered through the crack in the trunk lid, understanding, amazement and wonder dawned on me. There it sat. In the middle of the trunk. Innocuous looking, but where the most vile, nauseating and disgusting smells resided. That yellow grocery bag was the culprit. Inside was a styro-foam tray of chicken legs and quarters, a two pound packet of beef roast, and two packs of hot dogs. The plastic wrap on the tray of chicken looked like a balloon that had just enough air to go “pop” if poked with a sharp implement. The beef looked ominous, brightly colored and glossy, but just…ominous. The hot dogs looked plumper than they should be. Thankfully, the packages were still intact and no juices oozed out. My husband wandered out to see what I was doing, and the look on his face was priceless. Guilty understanding, combined with the smell made for a green-at-the-gills look. He got distracted while unloading the groceries on Monday, and the items left behind just had to be meat. Which decomposes happily in the summer heat.
The car never smelled the same after that. It was detailed several times, but there was always that residual smell that only I could smell. We traded it in shortly after, because I could never get comfortable driving it again.