stop, drop, & roll





So here I am in New Orleans, a place I have almost immediately decided is not somewhere I can coexist with nature after this vacation. It is hot…I liken it to being in a tanning bed inside a sauna. No one else here seems to have hair that becomes radioactive with humidity, appetites that survive on more than seafood and carbs, or any nasal sensitivities that might lend themselves curious enought to ask ‘what is that awful smell?’

All these characteristics of The French Quarters aside, it’s a really great time- especially for the 80th birthday of Bryan’s grandmother. Averting our eyes from the surrounding temptresses and night clubs, we made our way to a kickin’ piano bar so grandma could dance. And that’s when my fifth sense kicked in. Something that smelled of thick burnt orange soda. I learned quickly that this ‘citric bomb’ is the city’s remedy for the seedy street smell. To me, this is no better than doucing the restroom with Oust after using the toilet. Sure, what’s better than the smell of a bowel movement? The smell of a bowel movement mixed with spring linens…duh.

So I immediately flash back to the fourth of July…late 1980’s, on a beach in northern California. It’s one of the first Fourth’s I can remember; my parents, some family friends, fireworks, and s’mores. I remember smelling and breathing something equally as heavy- but it took my breath away. I wasn’t old enough to think clearly in a crisis situation, but I knew to ‘stop, drop, and roll.’ So I did. I just remember streams of people flooding away from the beach- my mom being one of them. I was picked up by one of my parents friends and he carried me while running until we could breathe again. Through the pandemonium, I found my family. Someone had tear-gassed the beach that night..they had also created in me a lifelong fear of bogus smells. To this day, I’m the girl that breathes into her shirt when bombarded by an overwhelming scent. And I don’t wear perfume for fear that it will inhibit my senses. Crazy? Sure. But you can bet that whether I’m in Cali or Louisiana, odds are I’m prepared and at the top of the food chain for survival.

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