Okay, so this is going to be a bit of a rant. Forgive me.
I subscribe to a lot of magazines: what can I say, it’s a weakness. Because of this, I am used to perfume inserts, those ads for fragrances that usually have a flap that you can pull open and sniff, if you so chose. At least, that’s how they USED to do them. The smelling was a choice. Then, though, they (and this is that big THEY, i.e. the cosmetics company, or the government, or whatever) began to make the sniffing less optional. The insert itself smelled, and if you lifted the flap you got an even bigger wallop. Okay, fine. I get it. This is the price I pay for reading Vanity Fair. Whatever.
Then, the other day, I sat down to pay some bills. Basic domestic chore, you know, write a check to the power company, credit card company. (I’m considering making the jump to paying all my bills online—my friends swear by it—but for some reason it makes me a teensy bit nervous. So antiquated, right? But I digress.) Anyway, so I open up my Banana Republic bill and…
…it STINKS. Not of shame, for all the clothes I bought that I probably shouldn’t have. Oh, no. It reeks of perfume. In fact, it smells just like someone you’d get stuck next to on an elevator, first thing in the morning, someone who has not dabbed but DOUSED themselves with fragrance. P-hew! At first, I couldn’t figure out where the smell was coming from—it was just spontaneous, like that same stinky someone had walked through the room—but then I realized it was the actual bill. I guess Banana Republic has some new fragrance they’re shilling. But let me ask you this, marketing geniuses: do you really WANT me to associate your new perfume with the act of paying bills? Because that’s not a great association, for me or anyone, I’m betting. “Ah,” I can imagine myself saying, “now, I too can smell like my dwindling bank balance and financial stress. Lovely!”
The thing is, I’ve bought Banana Republic scents before. They’re nice. But that doesn’t mean I want to be assaulted by them, unexpectedly. It was like an ambush! When I was already crabby! Cease and desist, Banana Republic! Cease and desist!
*takes a deep breath*
Oh, well. At least you were warned.
Finally, in much happier news, I just want to thank everyone who came out to the English Department at UNC yesterday to hear me read. It was a great time, and I had an equally great day being back down on campus. I lucked out and got a gorgeous, sunny day, perfect for sitting out and watching people walk by (which I did, after spending some time in the renovated student stores, ogling the fancy new and improved school supply section). I saw tons of people I hadn’t caught up with in ages, got to visit my old stomping ground of Greenlaw Hall (also new and improved! but still the same, at the same time) had a great lunch AND sat in on a Writing For Children class, which was fab. I also saw several of my former students, which is always nice, as I long ago decided to take all credit for their various successes, even those which have nothing to do with writing whatsoever. Then, just as I was leaving, a thunderstorm rolled through, and I walked back to my car, past the Old Well, in a nice, steady rain. It was just about perfect. And it didn’t stink of perfume, either.