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banANNA in Pajamas

I need new pajamas and I’ll tell you why. With the exception of my first year in LA in 2010, I’ve always had roommates and I love it because I know I wouldn’t do well with a break-in if I lived alone. I sleep well at night knowing there are six working ears in the house and surely ONE of those ears would hear and recognize a suspicious noise in the night. But when I’m home alone paranoia, deep fear and panic set in. Such was the case when my roommates left me and my inner freak outs alone for a night.


It wasn’t a noise that startled me late in the night, but a smell. A chameleon smell stemming from our kitchen that would come and go. Some whiffs smelled like burning rubber or tanning oil, other whiffs like musky canvas bags. I could not pin the smell and it terrified me. Was something burning? Was it a gas leak? Was I having a stroke?


I should have ruled out a carbon monoxide leak because our alarm wasn’t going off and it’s an odorless gas, but I’d been inhaling it for awhile at this point, what if I’d been exposed to so much that I could now identify its scent? Is superhuman smell a side effect of carbon monoxide poisoning?


It was getting so late, I had to get up so early and I was so tired; I needed to just calm down and go to bed. I convinced myself everything was fine…right?


I cautiously settled into bed when I heard a faint beep – was it the carbon monoxide alarm finally catching up to my nose? I jumped out of bed and confronted the alarm. I stared at it, dared it to beep again. It didn’t but I still wasn’t at ease. I propped myself up in my bed and wedged my body against my open window – basically sleeping with my head outside and texted my brother:


“can I get carbon monoxide poisoning while I sleep in my room if my windows are open”


No time for a question mark, this was much more of a psychological demand after all. After a few more texts with Eli:


“now I’m all paranoid like I feel like I have a headache and am nauseous”


“now I feel like it doesn’t smell! Am I insane????”


and one panicked phone call:


“it smells so bad in here and the air is so thick!”


my amazing/carless brother took a cab to my house.


When he arrived and the smell reappeared we did what any good investigator would do – we took aggressive, deep lung-ed breaths, pointing our noses in various directions and at various appliances. I fanned the air around the washer/dryer towards my wide nostrils. Eli took a large sniff of the dishwasher. We inhaled loudly and hopped around the kitchen as if the smell was a mosquito we could only catch with our noses. Eli shushed me as if sound was scaring the smell into hiding. We were both losing our minds.


Then we saw the flashing lights of a firetruck outside of our house. Praise the Lord! This smell must be from some outside source that is affecting everyone in the neighborhood. We went outside for answers and when the six firemen were turned away from our neighbors house for an accidental Life Alert call, I invited them in to “smell my house.”


They came in and concluded that the fan in our kitchen was improperly wired, wasn’t up to code and was dangerous to use. It might have been the brief time I spent outside in fresh air or the relief of having an answer but all of a sudden I became very aware of the situation. It was 1:45am on a Saturday and I had six young, attractive fire fighters in my kitchen telling me we had to sit in darkness for safety’s sake. And I was wearing men’s basketball shorts, an over-sized “SAY HEY” t-shirt, no bra and no make up. I’m not a vain person but it’s not my ideal to meet cute guys looking like a 12-year-old boy.


They asked if I had been asleep, if the smell had woken me up and in an attempt to counteract my sloppiness and appear to be a normal 26-year-old who would be doing something on a Friday night I said no. Solidifying that I wasn’t wearing comfortable pajamas but just my normal weekend wear.


I need new pajamas. 

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