Monday, August 5

the onion saga

We currently rent a basement apartment from a delightful Bangladeshi couple.  I almost didn't write this post because I had an irrational fear they'd stumble upon it.  But Abdus, our landlord, still calls Conlin Collins and I doubt very much even if he knew my name and how to spell it he would actually expend energy searching for my blog [there's also a good chance he doesn't know what blogs are...].  So, I write this post in semi-safety.

And now, if you please, drum roll...

We've lived here on and off for approximately three years, which means we have been soaking in curry-stained air for three years.  As a result, we have exhausted a plentiful stock of candles and developed personal vendettas against Indian food.  [Food, not people].  I genuinely like our landlords, but am incapable of developing appreciation for the smelly byproducts of their cooking.

But-onwards!  They have been traveling for the entire summer.  Typically, when they leave, our apartment's smell improves greatly.  This round, however, did not gift the usual relief.  Some smells were gone, but others lingered.  We started playing a game, "Smells like..." where we'd offer guesses as to what the smell was.  Amongst our guesses were road kill, dead bodies, and breeding animals.  But the guess that most embodied the actual scent was this: there is a man who eats ridiculous amounts of onions that is sweating into our air vents.

Regularly, Conlin or I would walk into the apartment, meet the smell, and gasp, "Why?" or "How the hell...?"  After a few weeks of continued stink, we had to assume it was us that smelled.  A sobering thought, that one.  We ran the disposal often, tossing in grapefruit peels and dish soap.  We scoured the pantry in search of rotting food.  We sniffed our arm pits.


For months the smell's source remained a mystery.  Then, on Friday, I received this text from Conlin:

The stink is coming from the cold storage do you want to find it and kill it

Very suave, my husband.  Locating the stench but then rushing off to work.  Hesitantly, I approached the cold storage.  The first time we lived here, the back room had been locked.  And, until Friday, we had wrongly assumed it remained so.  I reached the door, pulled my shirt up over my nose, and nudged it open.


May I never encounter a stench of that magnitude again.  My mother described it well: it is a smell that slices you.  [She came over to comfort and witness].

The smell's source, my friends, was a huge pile of rotting onions.  [At a minimum, forty.]  And, what's worse, is that our landlords haven't had access to the room for a year and a half.  We've had onions rotting in our apartment for a YEAR AND A HALF! Here's the slew of texts I sent Conlin whilst in a not-my-best-self rage:

I did not handle the situation with poise.  

I did, however, solve the problem.  I texted my brother Paul: 

I'll pay you $10 to move a pile of onions for me.  Interested?

Maybe it was unethical that I didn't include rotting somewhere in there.  Nonetheless, he came to my rescue.  Oh, Paul.  Blessed Paul!  

He arrived, I handed him some trash bags, and he set to work.  It was the best $10 I've spent...maybe ever.  My mom and sister stopped by as well, sprinkling baking soda and other cleaning products on the remaining rot.  

The experience was further proof I have the best family ever.  And thus ends The Onion Saga.


1 comment:

  1. I know that smell very well! Indians lived in the townhome we're in now and we still smell that curry stench every once in a while... its so strong!!