Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Future Headline: Frozen Dinner Kills Woman

I’m suffering here. Normally I’d come home from work and run or ride my new bike. Today I’m trying not to vomit. I loathe the word vomit, but my other options are throw up, retch, or puke. None of them are pretty words. Ugly words for ugly deeds, I guess. Not that throwing up is really a deed. It’s an involuntary action, except in the case of bulimia. And in that case it’s a dirty deed. Done D-I-R-T cheap. But at a cost to your health, so really, why do it? Is it worth it in the long run?

When your stomach feels like mine, induced gagging sounds like a good idea. SOUNDS. But is it? No*. I tried that once, when I was feeling sick, and it hurts. So, I’ll just wait this one out. Though I don’t know how much longer I can stand it.

My neighbors—whoever they are—are cooking something terribly smelly. Stinky. Vomity. I can’t even begin to describe it. To quote myself: ungodly. That’s what I told Stoker in a text message and I like the way it sounds. “I feel like throwing up. Especially every time I breathe and smell the neighbors f*#!*!g food smells. I can’t even describe it. It’s something totally ungodly. Like pig fat salad.” I don’t know what pig fat salad is, but it sounds horrid and makes the bile rise. It sounds like something that would make me vomit if presented with a plateful. I think I stumbled onto the pig imagery because the offending odor has a hint of a meat-smell to it. Boiled meat. Or something. Boiled AND THEN fried. This is my imagination running wild because honestly I can’t see how vegetables could smell this bad. Unless it’s cabbage. Now there’s a thought. Maybe they’re boiling cabbage. Making sauerkraut perhaps.

Think of an apartment complex with indoor entrances to each apartment. The kind with one entrance to the building, and then a hall or stairway, and then doors. You know the kind? Incidentally, that’s not the kind of apartment I live in, but bear with me. Now think of the typical smell in the hallway of a complex like that. It’s usually a bunch of awful cooking smells, mingling and hovering there for days. A stench, if you will. That's the kind of smell seeping into my apartment through the heating ducts. Now you know. Would you want to vomit too if you were already feeling sick?

My stomach-ache is a result of two things. First, against my good judgment, I heated and ate the frozen dinner I’d left in the fridge at work. It had been in there since last week sometime and I mean, it still looked alright. Ha ha. Famous last words. The kind of words you see in a public health brochure: “Just because food looks alright, doesn’t mean it’s safe to eat it. Millions of tiny microbes and bacteria live on that food. Beyond the vision of the naked eye, these microscopic creatures can do a world of damage to the delicate human body.**” If only that had been posted on the fridge at work to remind me of the dangers of rotten food. Instead we have this ancient, typed (on a typewriter, no less) sign saying something forgettable, like “Don’t leave your food in here for very long. We’ll throw it away.”

So the dinner hadn’t been frozen for several days, but it was still cold, and I’m lazy and didn’t want to find something else to eat. I ate it and it’s poisoned me. If I don’t make it out of this alive, promise me you’ll come to my funeral.

The second reason I feel sick is the cooking smell coming from my neighbor’s apartment. I hope it’s a cooking smell and not really the decaying smell of a decomposing body. What if my neighbor died and no one has noticed?

*I don’t know where this rhetorical style is coming from. Question, then answer. I think I’m delirious from the stomach ache. Oh great, now my stomach is trying to trick me into eating. It’s sending me mixed signals. Now it’s hungry. Now it’s upset and wants to throw up. I think it’s trying to trick me into eating so there’s more to upchuck. Oh, new word. Anyway, maybe some cake and ice cream. Something sweet.

**I made this up. No citation necessary.

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