Tuesday, September 30, 2014
I Wore This: Simply Right Hand Sanitizer
She detects it. Friday, for instance, just as I was rubbing hand sanitizer over my palms, she poked her head in to tell me she liked the cologne I was wearing better than the other stuff I'd had on that week. To be fair, I'd sprayed on Boadicea Explorer several hours earlier, but not very much, according to my enforced custom. It doesn't take much at all to radiate a Boadicea fragrance throughout a large building, and I work in a small building; even so, the comment, this coded compliment half between praise and insult, occurred just as the smell of rubbing alcohol was at its most pungent.
I tried to decide at various points over the weekend whether the comment was any number of things: genuine, innocent, barbed, spiteful, underhanded. I didn't dwell on it, but I kept coming back to it, the way that a 9 to 5, however little it has to do with your inner life, spreads out into every available corner of your consciousness and takes root there, colonizing any sense of autonomy or self determination. That probably sounds dramatic, to those who don't work.
And in the resentful passive aggressive way you react to these imbalances and indignities, I entertained fantasies of atonement. I was glad, for instance, that I'd ordered a bottle of Etat Libre D'Orange Rien Incense Intense several days before. Knowing it was on the way, trotting along in some postal carrier's bag, felt like justice (in the form of armor) was imminent. Similarly, I thought of all the "colognes" I might wear that would create more barriers between me and others, keeping them at an impersonal remove.
Today I wore the tiniest spray of Lancome La Vie Est Belle L'Absolu; not for any particular reason, other than I wanted to smell it again. I'm sure she smells it, too. She might have an opinion about it or aversion to it. It's probably too strong. Was her comment a way of telling me that my fragrance in general, since it appears to tip on the disagreeable side of the scale, should be left at home?
Do I care? I keep trying to decide. I have decided, actually, but I wonder whether I'm being too immovable. I think it would be one thing if I were insensitive to the space of others. There are many scents I could wear to work, even tiny amounts of which would pierce the senses like a sharp knife: Giorgio, Poison, Paris, Serge Lutens Arabie, Tango, Rumba, et al. Out of courtesy I choose milder scents, and I spray the most minimal amount possible on my skin. To me, what this co-worker is saying is that because she doesn't like smell I should either pay attention to what doesn't seem to bother her and wear that, or wear nothing at all.
Frankly, I'd rather fire her.