Looks Great, Smells Terrible

You know that feeling you get on the rare occasion someone gives you flowers? You’re so excited to be given what feels like the most beautiful creation on the planet. Feeling proud and maybe a touch braggy, you display those little technicolor gems on your dining room table, showcasing them like a gold medal win in the Luge. Maybe in the course of casual conversation with the Amazon delivery guy, you do a humble brag or two, “Oh these? Yeah somebody gave them to me. I forget who right now, but they’re nice, right?”

But secretly every time you look at them you think to yourself, “I’m special! Someone thinks I’m a little special! Waka waka! Awww yeah! Today’s gonna be a great day!” Maybe then you dance like Snoopy on your way to the bathroom.

The positive effects of flowers know no bounds. “You’re here to fix the overflowing toilet?” You joyfully ask the plumber at your door. “That’s fine, but did you see my flowers?”

It’s like you’ve been crowned queen of your apartment. You find you have a distant admiration for the flowers themselves- much like a neighbor who’s mastered the hacky sack on your shared lawn. You think it’s cool and you’re happy to watch, but you know eventually the thrill will wear off.  Nonetheless, you appreciate it and admire them for a sweet meditative moment every single day.

Then, about six days into your flower bliss, you start to notice something bitter in the air. The flowers still look gorgeous because they’ve been genetically modified to withstand a nuclear blast, but it’s clear they are starting to smell a little funky.  Like your 15-year-old cousin’s hockey bag, you figure, if you can keep the smell contained, it’ll be manageable. So you continue to ignore the festering funk because they still look great in your living room.

Fresh flowers scream, “I’m classy”. And this robust bouquet of sunflowers, lilies, and zinnias even gives your classiness a little class. Plus you need all the help you can get to offset the Spiderman posters, mounted to your wall with Silly Putty.

By day seven every time you come within close proximity, the odor wafts towards you, pushing you into a mild stupor. But no matter, they are pretty and goddammit, you need this.

Flash forward into week two and your flowers are still as sunshine bright as the day you got them. But now, they have begun to make your entire place smell like warm trash on a hot August afternoon. Instead of throwing them out though, you just shift their location to a spot farther from your dining room. Because you’re tired of every time you sit down being reminded of wet shoes and the end of something promising.

So then they move zipcodes to rest on your kitchen counter, complimenting your yellow, chipped tile so nicely. Shabby chic, yeah, that’s the look you’re going for. You are ready to take a photo for your blog and show the world you have your shit together so much, you have flowers for no reason at all.

Side note, do you ever stumble upon those blogs where people are talking about totally, unequivocally unimportant nonsense? Like, “What’s the best way to wear denim?” And before you can say, “crafty with jean shorts”, you find you have been sucked into a thousand-word article on the pros and cons of denim-on-denim. Seriously people, if you don’t know how to put on a jeans jacket, go fuck yourself. You are surely lost. Or better yet, you are a thousand times more on the ball for not giving a shit about a material once used as a fisherman’s sail.

Two items of note:

  1. I am completely aware this blog post (and most others I write) are exactly that. (Utter nonsense.) This story is something you are most likely reading:

A. on your toilet

B. while detangling a knot in a necklace

C. on your toilet detangling a knot in a necklace

So I’m acutely aware of the banal nature of this post. No offense taken.

  1. I, myself, have in the not-so-recent past been hired to write blogs about compelling topics such as the best ways to wear denim and how to properly accessorize.  And I assure you, no one feels like a bigger asshole than the person writing the post. Has my life really come to this? Educating people on the best ways to wear a Canadian tuxedo? 

That said, if you’re still reading, it’s probably because that knot in the chain is too small for you to undo. Hang in there, I’m almost to my point. (Then go find a child with tiny hands to help you out.)

So yeah, your flowers now are on your couch, wait, I mean counter. (They were briefly on your couch but it was only to keep you company while watching Game Of Thrones.) But now they are resting on your counter like a boss. Now you walk by the apparently still alive sunflowers and admire how much you were admired. But the funk they now emit screams a different story. It’s actively assaulting your senses screaming, “I am done! I am miserable! I am corroding from the inside out and oozing from my bottom. Let me go babe and put me somewhere else so you’re not reminded of the glaring irony of the situation.” (Your bouquet is more eloquent than most people you know.)

This, of course, gives you pause, and in your thoughts, your voice elevates in pitch as you think, “Well maybe they will be good another day? Perhaps I’ll change the water? That will help?

Change the water, change the diaper, change your shoes, change your underwear. You can’t rid the infection by changing the bandage. (sidebar, that’s terrible medical advice)

So now it’s Sunday. Passover and Easter are in full effect, and a truck ton of people are celebrating liberation and the invention of neon colored bunnies. You decide it’s time to let go of the myth of what is beautiful or supposed to be, what validates you, and what looks good on paper but is slowly torturing you every time you take a breath.

So you put those flowers outside where they can see the sun and reconnect with their beginning, shutting the screen door behind you. Inhale and notice how clean your home is and feel the power of getting rid of good intentions gone bad.

You swish your hips and realize you didn’t need flowers to make you feel special. The best part of those flowers was how you were reminded in a colorful way that you love to celebrate life. Walking back inside you see the day is made up of limitless possibilities.*

 

*Twenty minutes later you have a brief conversation with a friend who reminds you, you must change the water every day, tend to the flowers and then they will last. “Dear lord, I’ve been living my life all wrong!” You think to yourself, as you have a few seconds of regret for every mistreated bouquet from your past.

“Yeah” your friend continues, “If you clip them and change the water, they should stay beautiful for a really long time!”

Well bloody hell, all your philosophizing and life metaphors have been poured down the drain like the chunky water you just disposed of.

Thinking these little guys have a bit more gusto in them, you bow your head low as you grab them from your stoop.

“Sorry I threw you out. What’s say we give it another try?” You sheepishly whisper to the bouquet.

Remembering why you loved them in the first place, you place your pastel, long-stemmed metaphors in the window sill- happy for their return but keeping them close to the garbage can. Hedging your bets you head off to enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend.

 

 

** This little second story has nothing to do with the above. But it is currently the rare occurrence where it is both Easter and Passover. I have to write this down because it’s lived in my head since I was five years old.

“This Is A Stick Up”

From the time I was a very little girl, I have always love Easter. I mean, I venture to bet most American Jews grew up loving Easter. What’s not to love? Pastel colors, bunnies imitating chickens, and more candy than the good lord ever meant for a child to have shoved into her tiny mouth. In the Jewish faith, Passover is a celebration of freedom, and without going into too much detail, you don’t eat bread or any relative of it, for 8 long days.  (Bagel bakers around the world take a much-needed vacation at this time.) I will write a separate story honoring this unique holiday before the 8 days are up.

One Easter when I was four years old, my cousins, sister, and I got to take our picture with the Easter Bunny at the mall. All six of the cousins got to take a picture with Mr. Easter himself. Upon preparation for the picture, the bunny’s assistant gave each of us a brightly colored candy marshmallow egg. You know the ones: brightly colored, hard-shelled, and egg-ish shaped. The inside was some pseudo marshmallow concoction. Looking back I think they were made from crack cocaine and unicorn tears because we ate them like rabid raccoons. Today though I think they would be made out of the equivalent of nicotine and Amazon gift cards. 

Somehow I managed to swindle mister Bunny out of at least half a dozen of those precious little eggs. You can even see from the photograph taken the look of guilt and panic on my face as my little red coat pocket is bulging from the stash I had hidden away.

My Easter sugar obsession didn’t stop there. I remember strolling through the supermarket aisles with my mom around the holiday, bearing witness to the mountains of brightly colored candies on display. It was then that my two favorite fantasies really began to take shape: Becoming a bank/supermarket robber and being a hostage in a completely non-threatening supermarket robbery.

The gist of it was when I wasn’t scheming how to rob banks I was desperately hoping that the same type of benevolent robbers (the kind I fashioned myself after) would hold up the supermarket at Easter when we just happened to be shopping for our matza and gefilte fish. (These were two dishes that were neither sweet nor colorful. But what they lacked in flavor they more than made up for in bloating and indigestion.)

While gently being held hostage, we would be forced to sustain on Easter candy while the authorities kindly worked out the demands of the robbers. Eventually everyone would part ways amicably and I would get to take home more of the supermarket candy to avoid being traumatized.

Easter candy lived in my head as the sugary supplement to bread abstinence. And I don’t think this makes me a bad Jew but more likely, a carbohydrate addict.

And so concluded my Easter fantasies as a little Jewish girl.

Happy Passover and Easter everyone. May you always get the best treats (minus the theft and fraud.)

 

 

6 thoughts on “Looks Great, Smells Terrible

    1. Thank you Richard for taking a read! No one likes damp things. Like, do you know anyone who enjoys a damp sock? So I’m glad my story helps to counteract your damp sock day.

      Like

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