Today we were at "Beam Ray." A man came in and sat down beside me. He announced that he had a bag of peanuts and was anyone allergic to peanuts? No one was so he kept the bag with him. His hair had been combed with an egg beater. He smelled interesting. Garlicky. Spicy. Fried Foodish. Stale.
I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to get up and leave so I stayed where I was. I made small talk. Asked him about his book, which was a Louis L'Amour (I read about twenty of them in the eighties). I tried not to look at him directly in case there were food bits in his facial hair. Not a beard or a moustache, just leftover facial hair. After a minute or two he settled down to read his book and I settled down to shallow breathing.
After we left I said to Phil, "Did you smell that man sitting next to me?"
"Yah," Phil said. "Whatever food he had in his bag smelled good! I wonder if it was a sandwich, maybe from a deli."
"It wasn't food. Phil."
"It wasn't? Well what was...." and then it hit him. "You mean? Oh, I'm so sorry."
And so was I. And then I decided to see the silver lining. If I ever need to pretend I'm dead I am totally prepared--like if an alien invasion happens, and tentacled invaders slither into my home, in search of live people to take back to their planet to clean their bathrooms and cook slime-worms. They will assume I'm dead because I have the shallow breathing perfected. You couldn't see my chest rise and fall unless you used a magnifying glass. In fact I may be brain damaged from oxygen deprivation from today's shallow breathing simulation--in which case I probably wouldn't mind being the slave of tentacled aliens and cooking their slime-worms. And besides that, someone who sits in front of something called a "Beam Ray" would probably fit right in on an alien planet.
And then tonight we went to the New Testament class. It was a marvelous lesson, Brother Welch knows things about translation from the original Greek that make sense of things I didn't even know that I didn't know. About halfway through the class I smelled something. It was spicy, garlicky, in a fried foodish sort of way. I looked around, slyly. I didn't see anyone whose hair had been combed with an egg beater but I sure did smell fried food. Then I wondered, maybe there is a conspiracy afoot. Maybe the paranoid fairies are just messing with my mind. Or maybe I'm supposed to be more tolerant of egg-beaterish-haired people and well dressed, shower-every-morning people, too.
So, either way, today's experience was a good thing. Wasn't it? Unless Spicy-Food-Smell-Facial-Hair and Someone-Who-Showers-every-morning-like-clockwork reads this blog. Which they won't. Unless Murphy's Law is working overtime. And that never happens in real life, does it?