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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Oblivious

Yesterday we took Klara to a little girl’s birthday party. It was great, we all had a fantastic time. The hosts were so thoughtful that they even provided bug spray for the guests who have a tendency to attract mosquitoes. I’m the favorite person of mosquitoes everywhere, so I doused myself with the spray. 

As I enjoyed the party, I noticed that there was this intolerable, cloyingly sweet stench that followed me everywhere.

“These are great people,” I thought. “But God, what a stench! Why do they make it smell so bad?”

I tried discovering the source of the odor but the stench was everywhere I went and it was of equal intensity in every room and on all sides of the house. (I’m very sensitive to smell, so it was worth the effort to explore). It was only when I grabbed the bug spray bottle to put a second layer of protection on myself when I realized the painfully obvious: the source of the stench was me, the only person who’d used the stinky bug spray. 

A similar story happened to me in our campus parking lot that has very narrow rows and requires that you make sharp turns. Whenever I drove in or out of the lot, I’d hear somebody’s car emit a loud screech. 

“It’s so weird that the freak with the screechy car should come to campus and leave at the same time as I do,” I thought. “He must have the same teaching schedule.”

Then I came to campus on a Saturday and heard the familiar screech. 

“Wow,” I thought, “the screechy fellow is here again! At the same time as me! What a coincidence!” 

It literally took me a whole semester to begin to suspect that I might be the source of the screeching noise. 

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One thought on “Oblivious

  1. There’s actually research on people becoming “noseblind” to their own smells — a really challenge for people who eat very spicy diets.

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