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July 24 2014

mandarinmenace

Olfactory Nightmare

Last night I fell into a fitful sleep.  In the middle of the night, I had a dream.  The details are now fuzzy, but this much I remember: I heard my downstairs neighbor's labored grunts, as he's wont to issue when he's having a hard time evacuating his bowels.  Living in an apartment building with very poor sound insulation, I am familiar with this man's daily struggles with constipation.  I have lived with this for long enough that it hardly ruffles my zen-ity, but any visitor who's been to my apartment for more than a few hours would have heard snippets of his grueling bathroom undertakings (or otherwise his energetic masturbation) and succumbed to uncontrollable giggles. This man is loud. 

I'm not sure whether I actually heard him during my sleep and incorporated his grunts into my dream, or whether my subconscious mind dreamt up this whole soundtrack of arduous voiding.  Shortly thereafter, a whiff of something caustic and odiferous hit my senses so hard that it woke me up - as if smelling salts had been put under my nose.  In my dream, I interpreted the malodor as my neighbor's poop, though in fact it did not smell like fecal matter but something of an industrial nature, like a toxic chemical leak.  

I was wide awake and I knew that I did not shit my bed, nor was the building on fire.  Everything smelled normal.  I sniffed my sheets and my pillow - normal.  But as soon as I thought about my dream, I could smell it again - that burning, acrid, metallic smell that had somehow imprinted itself onto my consciousness.  I couldn't go back to sleep.  I was caught between trying to smell reality and having dream-state vapors assault my nose.  It was altogether rather shocking, and interesting, the vividness of this olfactory experience.  Usually my dreams are full of fantastical sights and sounds but hardly redolent of anything pleasant or foul.

I ended up dumping a quarter bottle of lavender essential oil all over myself.  Then I poured lemongrass essential oil on a votive candle, sat over it and inhaled for five minutes, trying not to set my hair on fire.  I left the candle burning and went back to sleep.  The rest of the night was uneventful.  But this was such a strange occurrence that I felt compelled to write it down.  I will attempt a scientific explanation in the second installment of this stinky tale!  

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