Thursday, September 10, 2015
The Unbearable Stench of Impossible...
So... the Impossible Son is now a freshman in high school.
*pause for motherly whimpering*
In our small town, the freshman campus is separate from the high school. It's also on the other side of town from where we live. Not a big deal, because this is a small town. I am lucky, though, that his first period class, athletics, is at the high school, and so is his last class of the day, because this means he can walk to school in the morning and walk home in the afternoon, since the high school is just down the street from us. Which means... no more sitting in long slow lines of cars to drop off/pick up my student, HUZZAH!!!!
*dance of joy, dance of joy*
Since Impossible is also on the high school cross country team, this also means that every other morning, he has to be at the high school at 6:30 a.m. for running practice. The Husbandly One drops him off on his way to work, and if I wait long enough, I can go out on the back deck and see the whole team go running by. They get back to the school in time for the team to shower and get ready for their first period class. Which, for my son, is athletics, as I mentioned earlier.
The next thing I need to mention is that my son, at 14, is the tallest person in our house. He is all long arms and legs, and the basketball coach pretty much started drooling the moment the Impossible Son loped into the gym. So... the Impossible Son spends first period playing basketball pretty much nonstop. All. Period. Long.
All freshman who have their first and last periods at the high school are required to ride a bus to go back and forth. This bus leaves at a very specific time, and if a student isn't there at that time... too bad, so sad. There is only ONE bus for this. I totally get that.
However, what this means for athletic students is... depending on the coach, there is NO TIME FOR A SHOWER.
This... is NOT a good thing.
So, Tuesday morning of the second week of school, I was sitting and staring at the story I'm presently working on and wondering if I needed to do little tweaking of my outline when the Dropkick Murphys start screaming, "I'm a sailor peg, and I lost my leg! Climbing up the topsails, I lost my leeeeegggg!!"
It's my phone, and I think, "I turned in the athletic forms, he has all his school supplies, omg, what has he done now?"
I frown at look at the clock, thinking, did he miss the bus?
"I need to come home and take a shower."
"Wait a minute, didn't you take a shower after class?"
"There was no time," he said a little sheepishly. "I mean, I barely have time after practice to throw on my clothes! I have to get out to the bus as fast as I can, no time for a shower!"
Okay, I know that's true, it was true when my daughter was a freshman, and will probably be true until the construction at the high school is finished.
"Impossible, you'll just have to suffer through it," I begin, knowing the school won't just let him come home. Then I realize, the ringtone was the Dropkick Murphys, not the Legend of Zelda. He was calling from the school office, not his own phone.
"Mom, everyone in my class says I reek! I stink, Mom, even the teacher says so! I need a shower!" he insisted.
It doesn't normally take me this long to catch on. "Wait a minute, are you just calling me on your own, or did the teacher send you to the office to actually go home and take a shower?"
"Yes, Mom, my teacher insisted!"
"Okay, I'll be there in a few minutes."
I was sort of stunned, but, having been around the Impossible Son when he was sweaty, I could sort of see it. Thing is, he didn't have that much of a body odor problem, really. It was mostly his feet that would get us during soccer season, where we would beg him to keep his shoes on until we were out of the car. But that's soccer pong, and just means keeping his gear clean. So, I got in the car and drove over to the freshman campus to sign him out.
The freshman campus was built in 1923 and has all the problems you'd associate with a building that old. It's small (the current class of freshmen are practically bursting out of the seams), it smells, and it's hard to air condition. In fact, only the classrooms and offices are air conditioned, while the halls are NOT. It's like walking into a sauna when you enter the building, and you want to hold your breath until you get into the office, where it's nice and cool. At least for a few minutes. Air conditioning at the freshman campus really means not as hot as the hall way.
So, I wade through the sauna to the relative comfort of the office to sign my son out. He arrives and keeps a careful distance from me, and when we get outside, immediately moves downwind of me.
"It's bad, isn't it?" he asks, eying me as we walk to the car.
"Not really." I take a careful sniff, but I don't smell much because... he's downwind.
"Just wait," he says ominously.
Amused, I unlock the car, we get in, I pull the window shade off the dash, start the car and get the AC going... and immediately my eyes start watering, my gag reflex leaps up and punches me in the throat, and my nose and lungs start rebelling and trying to escape.
"Oh... my... God..." I gag, turning to stare at my son in horror. "Did you roll in something dead??"
He's grinning at me. "I know, right?" The Impossible Son's cheeks are red with embarrassment, but there's an odd sort of pride in his eyes, too. "It's awful, isn't it? I told you! You didn't believe me!"
Frantically opening all the windows in my car, including the sun roof, with the AC going full blast in the faint hope of getting the... the... STANK out of my car, eyes watering and leaning away from my child, all I can say is, "Holy crap... how the fuck did this happen??"
"Mom," the Impossible Son says as leans helpfully away from me, "we ran four miles this morning in cross country, and then I had to go straight to basketball practice! No time for a shower! And then we barely have time to dress before we have to catch the bus! We all reek!"
I think all my nose hair was gone by the time we got home. My eyes are watering just remembering this. It was horrible. Like... old cheddar cheese that's been sitting in a bowl of water in direct sunlight for three days, and moldy soccer socks in a hot car, with a little muddy dog and three weeks unchanged cat litter box. During a hundred degree summer. With... sweat.
*is still horrified*
I never thought I'd ever say that about one of my children, but omg, he reeked. It made soccer pong look... pleasant.
So, after he'd decontaminated and changed clothes, he told me the story.
He was in his second period biology class, and the teacher had broken them up into smaller groups to work on their assignment. First, the kids in his group had started moving away from him with, "God, Impossible, WTF?" and "Dude, did you even take a shower??" Then some of the groups that were close to them started complaining and became vocal about insisting he go home to take a shower. The teacher, noticing the increasingly vocal protests, called him over to find out what was going on. At this point, Mr. Impossible had had enough. "Miss Biology Teacher, I really need to go home and take a shower," he said apologetically.
She said humorously, "So you're a little sweaty, you're fine, stop messing around and get back to work."
"No, I really, really stink, that's why they're all complaining," he insisted.
At that moment, the AC came on, and the vent was apparently behind him and blew air directly toward her. He said she was opening her mouth to probably tell him to go back to his table when his personal cloud of stench was blown into her face.
She froze. Her eyes went wide and her nostrils flared. Her eyes bulged as she stared up at him with horror, then they reddened and started to water. Her nose looked like it was trying to pinch itself shut. Her hands gripped the desk so hard, her knuckles went white. And her mouth snapped shut.
He said, "I seriously started to worry about her, because it was like... she stopped breathing!"
Of course, she stopped breathing! She was trying not to smell him.
After a moment, she started frantically pointing at the door. "You," she said, scooting hastily away from him after thrusting a hall pass at him. "You! Home! Now! SHOWER!!!"
"Well," I said, leaning toward him, "you smell much better now."
"I should," he said as we got in the car to go back to the freshman campus. "I used almost half my body wash cleaning myself off! Do they make industrial strength body wash?"
"No, and before you ask, Axe Body spray is not shower in a can," I said firmly. "If you had used it you would not have smelled better. You would still have the Stench, it just would have been... the Stench WITH Axe Body spray. And that would have been much worse."
"How do you know?" he asked as we pulled up to the school and I parked.
"Because the pot smokers at my high school used to try to disguise the smell of what they'd been doing before school started with this mint breath spray called Binaca. And it never worked." I grinned at him. "They never understood why they kept getting caught, but you know, it was because instead of smelling like pot smokers, they now smelled like Fresh MINTY Pot Smokers™!"
He laughed. "I'll pass that on!"
"Good. Because we're all kind of tired of smelling sweaty teen pong with Axe Body spray!"
You know, I'm still working on getting the smell out of my car!