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all content 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
Suburban Island

Steamed Shrimp
Saturday, Jan. 11, 2003, 7:15 p.m.

Question: Is deep breathing all it's cracked up to be?

What I Learned: One person's fragrance is another person's odor.

The most terrible odor is wafting through the house. What is it? I am racing though my mental database of smells. I am starting to panic. Is it clinging to my clothes yet? Is it permeating the fiber of all the upholstered items in the house? Is it saturating the atmosphere around us?

It is a strong, fishy smell. It is increasing in its strong, fishy intensity by the second.

Is it coming from me? Have I suddenly developed a killer yeast infection that requires immediate medication? Have I somehow forgotten to bath for a week and something in my body chemistry has suddenly snapped? Has one of the kids brought home a new kind of cologne from a hip shop in the mall that has gone all wrong when sprayed onto real human skin? Have I acquired a cat of which I am as yet unaware who has dragged something in from the great outdoors? Has Lassie come home?

I push up from the computer and holding my breath, race up to the living room. What is it? Where is it?

Then I see it. There, in a state of utter contentment is my husband, lolling on the sofa, bathed in the soft light of the television, eating a mountain of steamed shrimp, and watching football.

Relieved in the face of the other possible smell-generating alternatives, I resolve to take shallower breathes for a while and call up in 15 minutes with a demand for immediate trash removal to the curb.

Such are the perils of steamed shrimp.

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