This morning as I drove to work I got an unfortunate whiff of an unmistakable odor – death. Or more accurately, decomposition. The scavengers were having a good morning, I assume. I didn’t see anything, but clearly there was something dead in the area stinking up the joint. Reminded me of one particularly nasty tidbit relating to my recent travels – the long flight from Frankfurt to DC.
I’d been lucky enough to score an aisle seat, and I’m totally not complaining about Lufthansa. Other than the scary tuna-filled hot-pocket thing that was offered as a snack or whatever (blech – should have gone with the sausage wrapped in pretzel. What a weird hindsight), the flight and the plane itself were both much more lovely than on the United flight going west a week previous. And the free wine totally made up for that tuna weirdness. People still don’t believe that they don’t charge six dollars a glass when I mention that. Anyway. The guy sitting beside me had the. worst. breath. ever. Ever. Remembering the odor as I smelled it again this morning, I also happened to be listening to a track featuring the pearls of wisdom of the late great comedian Bill Hicks. Now this bad breath incident wasn’t one of the tidbits from the trip I needed to make a note of – I knew I’d remember. Honestly, I’ve been trying to come up with le mot juste to describe it since returning. All I had before this morning was what it didn’t smell like. It wasn’t like, oh, I have coffee breath. Not smoker’s breath. Not even, oops, I’ve been traveling for 36 hours and forgot to put a toothbrush in my carry-on. Perhaps he’s on some type of medication that has the unfortunate side effect of making his exhalations indicate he’s never heard of dental floss, or at least has been ignoring its existence for a good several months solid. I’d love to think that this is not the guy’s own fault, but for the love of nasal passages, breathe in the other direction and shut your effing mouth already, dude. The thing that was almost more disturbing was how impeccably clean the guy’s fingernails were. How you going to be so fastidious about one aspect of personal hygiene and so totally apparently unaware of another?
I didn’t actually speak to him much; he was traveling with a woman who seemed to mind not at all, as she spent most of the flight tucked under his arm whispering to him. There were no airflow nozzles above the seats as the ceiling was rather high on this plane, so I couldn’t do anything but wave my book in his direction when he’d intermittently decide to be a mouth breather. Came THIS CLOSE to just putting a piece of gum on his tray table at least twice, when my eyes began to water. Not that the vapors were truly lachrymatory agents, but after about six hours I just wanted to cry about it. I honestly would have preferred body odor, as that would have been relatively constant and eventually my receptors would have saturated and I wouldn’t have even noticed it anymore. No, every time I’d get absorbed in my book and stop breathing in fear I was hit with a wall of the smell of pure rot. I would have resorted to mouth breathing myself but the idea of those molecules landing on my tongue was enough nauseate me. Mmm. Halitosis. Oh yeah, the Bill Hicks connection. First, thanks, Mr. Hicks, for reminding me of such an apt description, in a fashion: dude’s breath smelled like he’d been sucking Satan’s cock. At the very least, if there were a hell, I’d bet that the portal to it is nestled in between two of that dude’s molars. He’d be a good one to have on your side in a battle. Go, pimply Asian dude, BREATHE ON THEM.