04 February 2008

Fie! It Stynks!

My apartment is most odoriferous at the moment.

My friend Chrissy and I have been watching The Complete Works of Jane Austen on Masterpiece Theatre for the past several Sundays. Usually we grab something to eat beforehand. This week I thought I'd be clever and make tea sandwiches instead. I gathered all the ingredients for those crustless treats and spent the afternoon slicing cucumbers and boiling eggs.

For some reason, it never occurred to me that hard cooked eggs might omit a smell so noxious it would put me off my appetite. Between the smell and the mustard that looked a touch too brown for safe human consumption, I was completely disgusted by the mere thought of egg salad sandwiches. When Chrissy arrived I asked if she might rather order a pizza "or something."

"Yeah. I'm hungry and it stinks too much to eat anything you just cooked."

Thanks to the longevity of our friendship, Chrissy can say things like this to me and I won't even blink an eye. I just pick up the phone to order a pizza with cheese and pineapple, extra cheese, extra pineapple, just the way she likes it.

We've put up with each other since we were eleven or twelve, even though we don't have a lot in common. Case in point, Chrissy's a BIG fan of suburbs and strip malls. I find this totally baffling. Suburbs and strip malls are highly offensive and unnatural creations. This is just the tip of our incongruent icebergs.

Chrissy considers her sense of humor to be "highly sarcastic to the point where some people are put off by it and it's not her fault that sarcasm is so beyond them." I understand that her sense of humor is actually bone dry to the point where most people think she is just saying something odd and it's not her fault that most people don't like to stand around in the mid-day desert sun staring at the blanched and brittle rib cage of a dead beast. Still, she takes great pride in her sarcasm, so I try to agree with her with as little ironic arching of the eyebrows as possible.

Truth is, I think it's funny when Chrissy says vaguely offensive things to me. For example, the week we watched the adapation of Northanger Abbey (our favorite installment thus far) we had the following exchange:

Chrissy: "Who's the lady in that picture with your sister and your nephew?"
Kim: "That's me!"
Chrissy: "Oh. Did you, like, actually brush your hair or something?"
Kim: "Yes?"
Chrissy: "Weird."

I almost went into this big explanation about how it's a JC Penney photo and no one looks normal when their pictures come from JC Penney. Or how it was in the middle of a huge DC Indian summer thunder storm so the frizz must be tamed. Or that I brushed my hair at least once a day most days of the week. Then I remembered not to take myself so damn seriously and to sit back and watch PBS, dagnamit.

Chrissy and I lit a big chai tea masala candle to cover up the egg stench while we ate our pizza and cucumber sandwiches. It was the candle that I bought her as a gift on a trip to Philadelphia a few years ago, but I forgot to mail it to her. I was glad that the orange candle in a paisley glass was finally able to bring pleasure to its intended recipient.

Today I got home and realized that my home still smells awful. In fact, boiled eggs covered up by heavily scented candle may be even worse than the original. I decide that since it already stinks to high hell, I should just add fuel to the fire and make fish for dinner. Then I lit the candle in true lather, rinse, repeat fashion.

Imagine how embarrassed I was when my nice next door neighbor came by to offer me a home-baked scone. She said that she knew I was home because she smelled my cooking. Great. It appears that the eggs-candle-fish-candle scent is capable of rousing the dead and shy neighbors. I stood at the door asking her about her car being broken into last night with a stern don't-venture-past-my-threshold stance, fearing that she might catch a whiff of the unique mixology of aromas inside. I tried to make a joke about my not so pleasant smelling dinner. My neighbor said, "I'm not asking for the recipe on this one."

I laughed because it occurred to me that I might spiff things up and invite my neighbor over for Masterpiece Theatre night. I think she and Chrissy might be fast friends.

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