Saturday, May 19, 2007

What's that smell

This is another post inspired by L.

It is spring. That means it is time for MULCH. Yes, that stinky stuff. The other day in the park, L announces that mulch is "stinky like a rhinoceros." MMMM, not sure, I tend to hold my breath near the rhinos at that zoo.

But it got me thinking.

I have smelled some really noxious stuff in my former career.

Right, you say, you worked in finance, what did you smell exactly? Money, right!


Giving 401K enrollment meetings, I have been some pretty smelly places.

For example, nothing smells quiet like the paint booths in an automobile plant. That paint is really stinky. Made me feel lighted headed. Now it is way cool to watch car chaises being painted, but the smell of paint will give you a major head rush. (I have seen this in two separate plants.)

The chemicals used to clean the paint totes (the big paint cans used in the paint booths. They look like giant gallon milk containers. They are metal. Seriously, they are almost taller than me.) Anyway, the solvent used to clean them and the paint fumes combine to make a really interesting smell. In fact, I would smell it for days later after visiting the job site. Weird, right. I have no idea if I was really smelling it or if it was just a trick my brain was playing on me. Combine that with the noise they make on the production line - a banging - a noise that I am struggling to describe. It was a sensory extravaganza.

How about the smells at an oil & natural gas refinery? Yeah, it is an odd combo of bus fumes, sulfur, wet soot and something a bit earthy. On a hot day it also smells a bit like a freshly tarred parking lot or driveway. Lots of smells for the nose to deal with there. I also got to smell them for a bit, via a respirator. Apparently they are so noxious, you need to wear noise protection. Great! ( I also had to wear a bright orange flame retarded jumpsuit, over my business suit. WOW what fun!)

A little know fact, but meat packing plants have big vats that collect the blood and waste matter. Yup! I know this because a client cleaned those using super suction trucks. Then there are places that take this sludge and do something with it. (I did not ask, I seriously did not want to know......) But let me just say that the odor coming from the trucks was horrible. In July - beyond words. Kinda like the smell you get at the grocery in the meat department BUT multiplied by 1000! It was stinky. Honestly, it was throw up smelly. I tried really hard to breath very shallowly for the hour or so I was there.

Shot gun shot. Yep, I saw it made. It is lead based and is made by dropping little droplets of the molten lead into water baths. It was cool to watch, thru the protective windows on the cat walk, but on the shop floor, the air is biting with a smell of sulfur and oily metal and it is hot, like 90 degrees and the sizzle from the water baths is eerie. So hot and steamy combined with a smell of sulfur. Yeah, stinky and uncomfortable.

So, while I am not sure if mulch stinks like a rhino or not, but I will say this, it smells way better than alot of the other stuff I have smelled.

1 comment:

IHateToast said...

ew! there's a milk processing plant i pass sometimes. have to hold my breath. smells of very old spilled milk.
oh, and another place is where the flying foxes roost during the day. whew!

oh oh oh, and my house when my husband takes off and i have a garlic fest. GLORY BE!