Wednesday, 14 March 2012

I smell like...

Last night I went to a concert.  I went to the concert by myself.  The concert started at 7pm and I thought I would be able to get from Yarraville to South Yarra in under an hour, find a park, buy a drink at the bar and then enjoy the concert.  With ten minutes to go, I still had not reached my destination!

The venue's tiny car park was full when I arrived, so I drove on, looking for street parking or any other place that was suitable for me to abandon my car and find it still there when I returned after the concert.  The street was narrow.  There was a car a little way in front of me.  I was driving at about 45km per hour. A cranky looking woman in a gigantic four wheel drive, loomed up behind me.  Then I heard a horn.  I wasn't sure where it was coming from and didn't think I was doing anything to warrant it.

I kept looking for a park.  I heard the horn again.  I caught a glimpse of the woman in the rear vision mirror.  It was her.  She was honking at me.  I slowed right down.  Steam started to come out of her ears.  I stopped all together and waited for her to pass me.  She zoomed past me, shaking her head.  I resumed my quest for a park.  It all seemed a bit unnecessary really.

As I walked into the foyer the doors to the concert I was attending opened and I walked straight in.  A woman and a man came and sat in the two seats next to me.  I was happily sitting and soaking up the scene; watching people and listening to conversations.  The woman was chatty - what was I here for? Had I been before? etc.

Then she said:  "Sorry if my husband and I smell like dinner."

Thank goodness!  I wasn't at all sure what was going to come after the word "like" in that sentence.  Which probably is a good indication that they didn't smell like anything.  Some of the ideas running through my mind in that moment were: "armpits"; "feet"; "bums"; "last month's macaroni cheese"; "Great Aunt Mabel"; "belly button lint"; "death" and "sewerage workers".  If you and your husband did turn up at a concert smelling like one of these things, then it probably is worth mentioning.  But when you don't smell like anything at all, what's the point of mentioning it?

After a shake of my head the woman went on to explain that they'd eaten noodles for dinner.  The husband leaned forward, into the conversation, nodding support and agreement to underline what his wife was saying.  I leant back.  It was instinctive.  I thought they were going to breathe on me.

The lights went down and the music started.  No more conversation required. But I may have suffered an aromatic hallucination for the rest of the evening.

What do strangers say to you in public places?

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