The plane lurched forward as it hit the ground waking me from a fitful sleep as we pulled in to the gate, arriving in Belgium. The flight across the Atlantic somehow seemed to go by faster than I realized and soon I was exiting the plane down a brightly lit hallway which spilled out onto the cold slab of the Brussels airport. Many flights had arrived at the same time and we were being herded into lines determined by citizenship. Those with European passports to the left all others to the right. I was tired and excited and thankful to not be sitting any longer. Once I had secured a nice spot in line I lowered my bags to the ground and stretched my arms up towards the ceiling, my spine stretching and popping back into its upright position. With my arms in the air a strong aroma rose up from the depths of my arm pits. As it inhabited my nostrils my thoughts were, “whew, stinky.” Next to me in the line for Euros about three feet away I noticed a man catch the smell as well and wondering where it came from, fearing that it came from himself he opened his sweater and smelled his own armpits. He shrugged his shoulders, a bit bewildered and seemingly relieved as he realized it was not he who smelt so strongly. I found these first moments in Europe to be a bit ironic; because in the States it seems to be common thought that Europeans tend to be the stinky ones. And yet here I was, turning the table around – perhaps I would be fitting in just fine.
September 19, 2010
A Smell is in the Air