Last week I interviewed this man for work. He is old and weak, maybe from the alcohol, or maybe due to his disability, or both. He is also a friendly, kind man who happens to be a hoarder.
Recently he was told that he needed to move all of his belongings out of his house for repairs. He needed help. He needed things moved from inside the house into his dilapidated shed outside. After our interview I offered to help him.
I returned to his house today and started cleaning the old shed, removing the old reel to reel tape players, and antique, rusted clothes irons that were thrown into the shed along with thousands of other items. After twenty minutes of reorganizing the dark and dingy shed, I swept the floor.
He came in shortly after.
"What died?" He asked before covering his nose with his wrinkled bicep.
"Huh," I said, unsure.
"You don't smell that. It smells like a dead rat."
"No," I said. "I lost the sense of smell."
"Oh, well consider yourself lucky."
I started to sweep again. As I did I looked more closely at the pile of dust, lead-paint chips, and dead weeds. In the midst of the pile was the rotting carcass of a squirrel. I swept it up with the dustpan and went back to the task at hand.
I laughed on my way home. I could have a dead squirrel in my pocket and I would never know. I could take a bite of rotten food and not have a clue.
When I got home I told my neighbor. He asked if I had been wearing gloves while helping the old man.
"It might be a good idea considering you can't smell."
"You know," I said, "That makes sense."
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6 years ago