The huddled masses wait in line. The huddles masses refuse to cover their legs with anything else but sparkles and moisturizer (for the ladies) and khakis (gents/any ladies who wear khakis). They wait patiently or not patiently or with bummed cigarettes for the hope that their ears will soon be draped in the sounds of Katy Perry or Robyn-pop stars with delicately placed y’s and modern haircolors. Those on this line have chosen to gamble for the promise of a great night, a “great” that includes a pantheon of options which may also end in falling in the subway tracks or text message crying. However, perhaps they will find somebody to bring home tonight, somebody whose criminal record they are not aware of. This is the largest square in the velvet quilt of Friday joys.
I know the title is almost TOO catchy, but here are some SCENTS I like
- The smell of gasoline and library books but definitely not together, you EXTREMIST
- when you let the world burn
- pancakes you had no part in creating
- Old sweatshirt from an old friend
- The way your hair smells the day after a good firepit
- The sheets from your childhood bed at home
- when you smell yourself but you don’t smell and it’s a good victory
- a new, unchartered shampoo
- an egg at the right frying time
- almond scented things don’t smell like almonds they smell good
- miraculous popcorn you have not burned in your weirdo microwave
- finally, you did laundry you hobbit
- and look, I put on a new pillowcase I’m no longer a slob
- a restaurant after you got your paycheck you are a king the possibilities are so endless
- that moment when the weather changes
- sharpened pencils or for the out of school set, eyeliner
- squeezed lime
- the beach, you IDIOT, THE BEACH
- baby powder not on babies
- a bag of chips when you are drunk
- Dogs smell good, right? That’s not weird.
- Whatever is on Food Network that I can’t have
- the hope that when you furiously spray your room to no avail
- I bet new Tumblr messages smell like vanilla
- You spray yourself cautiously at a Macy’s perfume counter and oh shit, it doesn’t smell like ass, but it’s 65 dollars and it’s JLO I can’t buy it
- my apartment might smell like Febreze and mold but it was a long day at work and it feels so nice
- new lipstick
- chlorine or some other scent that reminds you of summer and being young and taking vacations with your parents
- a good hug that you actually want and aren’t like “oh please get off me”
- a crisp five dollar bill that you can buy a falafel with
- that one person you are thinking of right now oh they smell so good, Jesus, don’t be gross about it, we get it
- new clothes smell like the bourgeois
- a new fresh container of hummus, full of possibilities
- nothing in Bath and Body works, that place is an assault town of artificial raspberry
- Easy Mac, right when it thickens
- that victorious smell of paper not plastic
- any car you are riding somewhere wonderful and fun and can stick your hand out the window
- a friend’s house you love visiting
- a friend’s odd smell of old cigarettes and lavender and friends are so familiar and delicious
- any leaf or fresh greenery that isn’t poison ivy
- shoes that you haven’t ruined with your disgusting feet
- nail polish when you finally get around to taking care of yourself
- same goes with lotion, take care of yourself more
- wine when you pretend you know what the fuck you are talking about
- olive oil and garlic in a pan, right before you screw it up
- whatever is not the subway
- a new thing
- a bar bathroom that doesn’t seem to have piss all over the floor
- movie theater popcorn
- anybody that comes out of the bathroom and seems to have washed their hands
- a post-brush their teeth kiss
- bakeries, you savage
- Mom’s cooking
- candles and they are so nice and you stick your hand in the wax and make little finger molds
- when you open the window
- the moment the waiter puts the food down
- probably not my feet at the moment
- new mascara
- I used to sniff rubber cement for probably some reason
- crunchy leaves yay fall yay I’m not dripping sweat
- flowers are okay, you romantic
Sometimes, I am tempted to eat my college degree.
Toast some bread, add some thinly sliced tomato (in season), throw on some American cheese and some mayo or mustard or whatever condiment that’s been sitting for two years in my fridge. And then I would take my degree from it’s Target-framed frame and I would put it on there and I would eat it. I would also wipe my mouth.
“There,” I would say. “Look what you’ve made me do.”
I would be saying that, of course, to the sky, because NelNet loans must surely base themselves in the sky. This is the only way they can accrue so much interest for me (it would take them a long time to get there). The NelNets would answer back days later with a solid “we don’t really care WHAT you do” and an extra “what, you can’t even afford cheddar?”
Nobody would notice. It would be in my stomach and my mother might comment how it my degree is no longer on the wall and I would tell her that it broke because I’m 23 and don’t know how to hang frames. She would listen and worry that I had snuck in her house, because the degree hangs in the childhood room in my childhood house.
Employers might chuckle when I tell them how I noshed on my $40,000 a year piece of paper, for a snack, because I had no cold cuts. They might cough out an “in this economy” because “in this economy” they are already old enough to have jobs and kids who inexplicably (to them) want to pierce their nose. Everybody can cough out an “in this economy” these days. It’s in WebMD now. It’s what you do when you buy generic brand toothpaste, or break your foot and don’t have health insurance. They would sympathize. They would ask me to intern or never call me at all.
Friends will tip their 3.00 can’t afford the 6.00 beers at you and then nod solidly, because we used to be buds who drank warm rum out of the corners of college dorm rooms. Now, we’re the buds who drink at brunch with our heads in our hands, wondering if a five year plan ends in death but also brunch every week. I cough out a tiny corner of paper. They hope I don’t get sick over it. They hope that if I get sick, it would make the job market more manageable for them.
I sit digesting my degree and the whole grain wheat bread I used because now I think about my health. I digest it as I fill out tax forms and wish money was like Monopoly money, where they give you a bunch of it and then you have the option to spend it, as a thimble. I wonder if I can pay my electric bill with the really good final paper I once wrote on the racial other in Jane Eyre. I burp. I smooth down my Forever 21 skirt and hope people think, at least, that I got it at Macy’s. I have very little to show for everything. College, to me, was a very fun and expensive Sleep Number mattress. I do not know if I need it, but I had a good time and it costs me too much and it also makes my back feel supported.
I would be more scared if I didn’t have it. I wonder why I do.
“I ALSO have passion,” I say, as if that is the one thing that makes us all feel better. We (a specific generation) have dreams that we are allowed to seek out in apartments the size of a box. With cockroaches. We have friends and late nights and the joy of experience and debt. We have nothing, and we have opportunity. I’d like to put it out there that we have opportunity, because some people don’t, and sometimes these things are worth their weight in ramen. Of course, intangible things like ramen weight and education still make you sick and unable to pay bills, still make you toss and turn, still make you quote passages of the Illiad to nobody, just to prove you’ve done something. There’s that.
I advise myself to take this yellow brick road of opportunity. The witch has certainly created her obstacles. I follow it anyway. I burp ink.
“I wonder what the hell I’m doing,” I think, as the degree grumbles in my stomach and I count the change in my wallet to buy a Snapple.
I’d like to think it’s worth it, I say, to anybody who will listen. Nobody does, except whatever lies in the pit of my stomach. It’s paper, I think, or something much better.
It is National Kissing Day and I know this because I read it on the Internet and I am thinking about all the people I haven’t kissed because I feel like this is exactly what I should do. I vaguely remember millions of them, running from them—couches with spaces between knees, friends who went on holiday, nights I stayed in, subway rides and I bolted, drunk bar bathroom visits in which I just went home because I didn’t want to do anything recordable.
It is National Kissing Day and I am thinking about all the people I have kissed, past kissed, past tense, no longer. When you line them up, it is about as uninteresting and unremarkable as any other line. Slow moving. Noticeably wrinkled shirts. My fingerprints imprinted nowhere on pale necks. I will not ask why.