Wednesday, April 08, 2009

I hear you breathing and I smell your breath

I was teaching the other day when, mid-thought, I became overwhelmed by the smell of maple syrup. "Who's been eating French toast?" I asked the class, "I smell your syrup." They all looked at me, unsure whether to laugh or fess up or what. One of my students started laughing and sort of sheepishly raised his hand. He told me he'd been eating a butterscotch candy that did, he agreed, smell sort of mapley.

I have always had a strong sense of smell and bat ears. I've always been able to hear the lights screaming in our living room and the high pitch sounds of computers and our television. Working in an office became unbearable for me toward the end, and only partly due to the miserable wretches who filled my days with negativity. I additionally could hear the wheels of each printer, the hum of each monitor.

Now imagine those already strong senses magnified by my pregnancy. I think, in retrospect, I knew I was pregnant when I first sat down in my office on the 6th floor and smelled the frying sweet potatoes in the basement cafeteria. I can hear the students' phones vibrating in their sweatpants pockets, I can smell their deodorant, and going into any store that carries anything fragrant is completely out of the question. I'd die!

I try very hard not to talk too much about being pregnant with my students. They are, after all, 18 and more concerned with their GPA/ABV combination (that's alcohol by volume for you old heads who stopped binge drinking on Thursdays). But after I smelled S's butterscotch breath, I couldn't avoid explaining things to them.

Suddenly, we were talking about white flour and avoiding bagels and then, I was horrified to hear myself discussing prunes with a student who wrote an exercise about her hatred of prunes and her grandparents' discussions of them for increased bowel health. I talked about bowel health with a student!

My only explanation for doing such a thing is that Corey bought cheap light bulbs for the recessed lighting in the living room, and these bulbs are more high pitched than a dog whistle. I hear them constantly, even from up in our bedroom with the door shut and my head beneath a pillow. He insists he can't eat dinner without light, and the table lamp just won't do. So if I walk around saying crazy things or lacking a filter, it's because Baby Love's dad has made me nuts, torturing me with the lights and then finishing me off with his dirty plates crusted in barbecue sauce. I blame the pair of them. I think I hear them snickering at me right now.

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