Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Inhale at your own risk
Today I found myself wending a two-lane road north to a little town called....well, to protect the innocent we'll say it rhymes with Latesville, Arkansas. As I cruised in, Bates--uh, Latesville looked much like its sister towns. There was a Sonic, some Mom'n'Pop businesses, lots of trucks. But just after the golden arches came into view, I noticed something different. All kinds of different. And not the good different, like fresh music. The kind of different people use when you ask if they like your new mullet. The best description I can come up with is this: imagine a fresh can of moist dog food. Heated. Now put your nose in the can. This smell, my friends, tickled my nose at the bridge. Then, a mile further it coated my tongue. And by the time I made it to town center it had a choke hold on my nasal passages. I couldn't even think about anything but Alpo, much less locate the address of the business I had come for. Now, the aroma of Batesville is due to a large food processor that had the inhumane idea of putting their factory right downtown, so it's not really the poor Latesvillians fault. But as I looked around, a full on oh-my-gosh-that's-gross snarl on my face, I was the only one concerned. People were actually going in to McDonald's. To eat. And about a few minutes later, I understood why. The smell fades. Like, ten minutes in Latesville, and you don't smell Purina One, it's just...air. Which made me grateful that God designed our noses with a limited number of scent receptors. So that if you're one of the unlucky few who look up one day to find a cannery next door, you've only got to suffer a short while before your nose has literally had enough. And it made me grateful that in a town where the air is pure and the rocks are little.