RANT: Air Fresheners
It started when I moved into my own place. Previously, I had lived with up to 6 other people, predominantly males. Now, anyone familiar with this type of living arrangement knows full well that, try as you might, it is impossible to maintain a basic level of cleanliness. It essentially becomes a race to the bottom because the only thing more satisfying than a hygienic, pleasant dwelling is the pleasure of knowing the spite you are inflicting on your unsuspecting roommate when you leave a monstrous coiler to breath in the toilet. Needless to say, when such impulses are what motivates you, it is unlikely that you are going to spend precious beer money on air fresheners.
But things change when you live on your own. Suddenly, you must claim ownership of any and all filth encountered in your place of residence. You can leave that bowl-filling monstrosity in there if you like, but you are only spiting the future you. Though economists grasp with the temporal aspects of preference relations, it is a safe assumption that the zero utility you receive from not flushing is far outweighed by the near infinitely negative utility you receive when you revisit the scene of the crime.
As a heterosexual male, air fresheners are not something I had ever really considered. Sure, I'd been the source of some rancid smells in the past, but they served more ofa comic value than anything else. Frankly, being the first one up the morning after a hard night of drinking gave one the opportunity to lock the door, grab an issue of Scientific American, and really hunker down. Between the dozen beers and the 2 Big Macs you ate on the cab ride home, that morning shit would feel like it was coming out with claws. You knew the roommates had one on deck too, but you'd take your time and make sure the job was done right. If smells were sounds, the bathroom would be a chorus of wailing children dragging fingernails down a chalkboard. It wouldn't even smell like human feces; it would smell like the local landfill. Living alone changes this. You have to start considering the judgement rendered by the opposite sex in ways that you never contemplated before. Maybe, just maybe, she doesn't get all sloppy wet when she catches a whiff of the deepest workings of your digestive tract.
So what do you do? Simple: go buy stuff that covers up the smell of shit or at least masks it with something else. They sell air fresheners all over the place; any asshole can pick one out. And that's when you see the scents being proffered. Botanical Bliss, Berries and Paradise, Vanilla Passion. Jesus fucking Christ. You might as well have Fabio in an open shirt triumphally perched on the bridge of a recently conquered pirate ship on the packaging of these damn things. Smelling the inner workings of my rectum is no turn-on for the ladies, but neither is proudly displaying some product that sounds like it ought to have a starring role in some off-Broadway musical about yeast infections. It's boggles my mind that these things don't come with $0.50 off coupons for heavy-flow tampons. Sorry folks, but my "Passion" will never smell like Vanilla.
I need something that smells good and these products are clearly marketed to not-me, so I simply choose the ones with the most innocuous sounding names. "Fresh Breeze" and one that had apples in the name are the ones I finally settle on. Their little plug in things so they are constantly working, which is good, because I don't want to spray myself in a cloud of what could be DDT, for all I know. I plug in Fresh Breeze and walk away. I Leave my basement suite for a couple hours and go do whatever the hell it is I do when I'm not at home.
When I walk back in my front door, old Mr. Airwick has a little surprise for me. While I was galivanting about the town, he was busy making my entire apartment smell like a 90 year old prostitute. The smell is so thick, it isn't even a smell - it's a taste. And let me tell you, air fresheners taste worse than they smell. In fact, a blind taste test is likely to reveal that the taste of your average air freshener is indistinguishable from Windex. Needless to say, every window in the house is opened and the door is propped open. 15 minutes later, all is okay. I look at the top of the little device and see that there is, in fact, a knob that adjusts the rate at which it heats the fluid that spreads the smell. It was on the second lowest setting. Needless to say, when the thing burns through liquid like that, said liquid is not going to last very long. On the lowest setting, it lasted 3 days. I wasn't sad to see it run out; The rancid over-the-hill hooker smell actually made me nostalgic for the smell of my own excrement.
Apple would have to be better. Afterall, who doesn't enjoy the smell of fresh fruit. I'm picturing maybe a nice waft of cinnamon apple pie greeting me at the door like a warm hug. What I got was far less pleasant. I open my door after the apple scent has had time to permeate every cubic inch of space (on the lowest setting, of course). I'm instantly bombarded by an olfactory assault, the likes of which I could barely fathom. This was not apple. This was was more like apple-juice thrice filtered through the failing kidneys of a starving third-world boy. It's rare that a fragrance makes me consider huffing bleach purely for the paralytic effect it is bound to have on my sense of smell. Needless to say, random-apple-flavour thing was even less successful than lady-of-the-night-circa-1920 thing. I've gone back to being awash in a sea of my own vaporous poo.
Two lessons to be drawn from this:
1) Hetero-friendly names would be a boon.
2) Smells that aren't liable to drive people to suicide would be a step in the right direction.
- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests