Scent of a man

3 WEEKS AGO — The people on my 'team' at work are scattered all around the office, but soon we're consolidating, moving to a different part of the same floor, where we'll all be working side-by-side. I'm not looking forward to it.

I've been working almost entirely with just one member of the 'team', a nice lady who's been helpful without expecting me to be sociable, so she's perfect. 

At the new corner, with all of us close together, there'll be a bunch of people to interact with, and I hate interacting. Doubtless some of them will be annoying, or find me annoying, and they'll be right but so will I.

It'll be harder to get away with muttering "You son of a bitch" at the clunky 1990s software we use.

What's worst, of course, is that with co-workers all around me, I'll need to be "on" all day. How the heck is anyone "on" all day?

Wherever they put me, I will certainly not miss one thing about where I'm at now — the hour-long overheard conversations about auditing, from a woman too close to my desk, who talks very slowly and repeats everything she says, and then repeats what she's repeated. Yeah, it'll be nice leaving her behind.

2 WEEKS AGO — Ever since I started as Haugen & Dahl and presumably before, they've been saying that our 'team' will be moving soon, and it's finally happening. Some of my co-workers are already in their new cubicles. I have to walk over there to get paperwork from them, and it's a long walk. 

The lady I've been working near (let's finally give her a name... 'Ramona') says I.T. will come 'round to move her computer tomorrow.

And me and my computer? There's no knowing when we're going.

MONDAY — I.T. promised it for days, but never showed up until Monday morning. They took Ramona's computer, and then Ramona boxed up everything else and followed it.

I stayed behind, all alone, and with no complaints about that. Alone is my natural habitat.

TUESDAY — I.T. is coming to move my computer today, they said... but they didn't.

WEDNESDAY — Well, they did move my computer, but it was after I'd left yesterday. This morning, with no screens and no keyboard, I got the hint, and carried my office mess to the other side of the office. 

Same job, different desk, and now I have to say good morning and good night to five people every day. The horror, the horror. I don't say much else, of course, except work-related questions. Already a few co-worked have asked, "Why are you so quiet, Doug?" Sigh. I'm fat and quiet, OK?

Everyone else is in the next row of cubicles, though. In my row of six cubicles, there's only me and Aubrey, a lady from another department, who so far seems like a non-annoying character. We'll see.

THURSDAY — With everyone else over a cubicle wall, there's only Aubrey near me, but she took today off so there was no-one — no neighbors, and no breathers. It felt safe to take off the mask I've worn everywhere since 2020. Ah, the sweet freedom to pick my nose, or even walk to the window and admire a new view of the same parking lot, all without wearing a mask.

Then I sat at my new desk, went back to my work, but after a few minutes of unmasked keyboard-clacking, a familiar odor smacked me — urine.

There's a cat at home, and pee, of course, is the official scent of any American city, so most of my life smells like pee. This wasn't the city, though, and there's no cat in the office on Millionaires' Island.

The smell of pee was coming from me. And I never would've known it, if I'd left my mask on. Inside the mask, all I can smell is my own bad breath.

Reaching under my new desk, I rubbed my hands on the crotch of my pants, then brought my fingers up and took a whiff. Ugh, my pants (and now my fingers) stank of urine — and not 'slightly'. I reeked.

I don't (think I) have a dribbling dick, but sometimes the tip gets stuck shut from sweat or whatever, and when I pee it shoots out sideways instead of straight ahead. That's what must've happened, and the pee splashed all over my pants.

But when had it happened, I wondered? My pants weren't at all wet, so it hadn't happened that morning. How long have I stank of urine?

See, I change my pants weekly, not daily. Office workers don't get sweaty, and I'm not fastidious. Last week I forget to change pants, so I'd been wearing that pair of pants for at least two weeks.

If I'd stunk all week and the week before, I wouldn't have known it — not with a mask on my face at work, and living pants-free as soon as I get home.

So maybe I'm not just the new guy in the office, and the quiet guy. Maybe I'm new new, quiet guy who smells like piss.

Well, there was nothing I could do about stinking yesterday or last week.

As for Thursday, my first strategy was to suck on a sugar-free Jolly Rancher, then pour saliva into my hands, then rub the sour-apple-scented spit into my pants. That got me nothing but a wet crotch, though. The problem was worse than Jolly Ranchers could fix.

I beelined to the men's room, shot several pumps of sudsy soap into my hands, locked myself in a toilet stall, and lathered soap onto the inside of my pants.

This reduced the stink of pee, but not enough, so later I returned to the restroom for a second and then third lathering.

Eventually I stank of sudsy restroom soap, not instead of but in addition to my pee stink.

By the afternoon I was wearing the mask again, to keep me from smelling myself, and I was glad to be alone in my row of cubicles.

FRIDAY — Today I wore clean pants, and smelled as good as I ever smell.

From now on, there's a new rule: I'm still wearing the same pants for a week at a time, but the pants get a sniff-check every morning, before putting them on again.



  1. I commented this a few days ago, but it was eaten by the void. Every so often, my tiny pecker pees between the toilet and seat, when I'm sitting on the toilet, soaking my pants. Not fun.

    1. Ah, I know that moment. Hasn't happened in a while, so I'm due.

  2. The key step is to give it a quick rattle before urinating, to make sure your tube isn't blocked. That prevents 99% of the off-target shooting.

    1. Sounds like a lesson you've learned before teaching. Thanks.


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