Why I Should Have Taken Out The Trash

Thursday night, while I was frantically packing for my 59-hour jaunt back to O-H-I-O, I realized I should take out my trash. The can was overflowing and thanks to my latest attempts at becoming Julia Child, it was filled with an entire pot roast I somehow managed to scorch beyond edibleness, assorted vegetables that I had purchased during a health kick and Chinese leftovers that had become fuzzy in the month spent sitting in the fridge. By packing time, my Simple Human was already a tad fragrant and I knew come Monday return it be full-blown biohazard. But despite my best intentions, I never made it to the building’s trash chute.

When I walked into my apartment last night, I expected it to smell one step above Wet Dog Butt. Instead of over-poweringly toxic, I got Fresh Mountain Morning with a hint of Need To Change The Litter Box. Surprisingly, nothing was emanating from the garbage can. With a shrug, I went about unpacking, pacifying the cats after my extended absence and sorting the mail. And then, lulled into a false sense of odor-related security, I opened the trash can to throw out 28 pieces of junk mail.

Sweet Virgin Mary, Joseph and the donkey they rode in on. It smelled like pig farts to the infinite power. Never in my near-30-years have I smelled anything more foul, more rank, or more eye-wateringly noxious. And I’ve been to Mount Rumpke. I swear that I saw lethal green fumes roll off the top. In an effort to preserve my sense of smell, I slammed down the trash can lid, staggered over to my balcony, threw open the doors and inhaled deep breathes of refreshing NoVA air. Ten minutes later, my lungs had recovered and my nose was once again functional. But that damn trash was still in the kitchen. Thus began Operation Take It Out Without Dying.

My first strategic maneuver was to call Wendy’s Boy. Generally, when there’s something I don’t want to do, I either pawn it off on an unsuspecting victim or revert to gender-specific stereotypes. This was one of those instances. I figured smelly trash was a Man’s Job and I had access to a Man, so why not utilize his services? Except Wendy’s Boy was MIA. With no other option except let the trash continue to putrefy, I decided to take the trash out myself. But first, I had to find some suitable nose protection.

Since I suck at holding my breath, a gas mask was not readily available and I doubted a hefty sniff of my Glade Plug-In would override the smell the entire 100 yards to the trash chute, I decided to go with the block-the-nose-and-breathe-through-the-mouth option. Ideally, I would have used a swimmer’s nose clip or a clothespin, but instead, I had to settle for jamming Lite Flow Tampons up my nostrils. And just to make sure no contaminated air snuck by my first line of defense, I took my North Face headband doohickey and put it around my nose. With proper odor-blocking precautions in place, I headed to the kitchen.

It took a solid 20 minutes and five Fresh Air Breaks to remove the bag from the can and complete a double bag. The trash had liquefied, it kept oozing out the bottom and I quickly discovered fighting my gag reflex with Tampons shoved up my nose was not an easy task. Eventually, I made it out of Chez Apartment and began the seemingly epic walk to the trash chute. About halfway there, two unsuspecting residents rounded the hallway bend. Even yards away, whiffs of toxic air reached them. Stopping in the hall, they took in my vaguely-green complexion and the smell-barrier I’d constructed around my face. I could see them calculating the odds of smell survival and deliberating what to do. Wisely, they headed back to the safety of the elevators and away from sure Death By Fumes.

Finally, finally I reached the trash chute. I opened it, tossed in the Bag of Funk and listened as it hit the dumpster four floors below. With a sigh, I took out my nose Tampons. And then, reflexively, I inhaled through my nose. The residual odor was nauseatingly horrific. Sort of like mildewed baby diarrhea mixed with eau de Homeless Man. And it was all too much for my delicate-flower stomach. Praying I didn’t catch too many fumes, pass out and fall head first down the garbage chute, I opened the chute door, put my head in and puked.

I haven’t been able to smell anything for nearly 18 hours.


14 Responses to “Why I Should Have Taken Out The Trash”

  1. Malnurtured Snay Says:

    I feel I should apologize for laughing at you.

    But I’m not going too.

    See, none of this would’ve happened if you’d moved to DC!

    (Also, you left your cats alone with that smell? That’s just cruel …)

    It wasn’t that bad when I left. Just a mild odor. I promise.

  2. LiLu Says:

    That wouldn’t have happened in the district…

    All we have are rats!


  3. freckledk Says:

    Yucko. I would have just moved.

    I’m trying…

  4. flipflopsintherain Says:

    I was totally expecting a Bionic Kitty story.

    I’ve got one, I’ve just not told it yet…

  5. JFo Says:

    Wow. I applaud your resourcefulness. The Simple Human must have some amazing odor containing ability.

    It’s like a super-seal on that can.

  6. Tabitha Says:

    Bwahaha! Wow…this is TOTALLY something I would do. And probably have done. And blocked out. Great story!

    LOL, never underestimate the value of conveniently forgetting certain events.

  7. lyssabits Says:

    I don’t think there’s any level of stink that would induce me to shove tampons up my nose. My job has so many horrifying smelling things, I’ve just burned out my olefactory receptors at this point.

    Next time, I’m making you take out the trash.

  8. Kat Says:

    If laughing at this is wrong, then I have no chance of being right.

    I applaud your ability to survive the Ubertrash, though.

    Laughing at me is never wrong; it’s my entire purpose in life.

  9. Laura Says:

    See, I would have just sacrificed the trash can. Do not remove lid, do not pass go. Chuck the whole freaking thing. And you know how cheap I am, so that should say something about my willingness to deal with with extreme grossness.

    And you also told me to throw away the Tupperware last night, soooo…

  10. Laina Says:

    I’m with Laura, I would have just thrown the whole thing out. And I’m cheap, too, but I don’t do stinky well. And yet I have two kids, go figure. 😛

    I cannot believe you put tampons. In. Your. Nose. Way to McGyver it!

    Haven’t you seen that before? They do it with athletes who get nose bleeds…

  11. Maxie Says:

    omg! i’ve never heard of someone throwing up because of the smell. glad you got that nastiness out of there. wow.

    Smell does not begin to encompass it. It’s too mild.

  12. Jennifer Says:

    Wow, that must have been some stink! I, too, was expecting a Bionic Kitty/Number 2 story. Glad the cats survived the funk!

    They’ve been conditioned…

  13. emma Says:

    I’m DYING here – but from laughter, not toxic fumes. Too damn funny.

    I can forget my underwear or toothbrush when traveling, but I never, EVER forget to take out the trash. Now, I know why.

    Lesson? learned.

  14. lyssabits Says:

    >Next time, I’m making you take out the trash.

    Someone once described a compound I work with daily thusly: “It smells like you gathered all the cat hair in the entire world, then soaked it in all the cat urine in the entire world for a couple of months. Then dried it. Then burned it.”

    Please tell me you get hazard pay.

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