Some weeks I drive carpool for Olivia and two of her friends. We are up early and and on the road at 6:45. In the morning. Some mornings I have to drag Diego out of bed extra early and bring him with me. Needless to say, three teen girls, and a sleepy 7 year-old at 6:45 in the morning, are not the most pleasant company as we wind our way through traffic to get to the girls high school a few cities away. Often the sound of the silence in the car is deafening, disrupted only by the occasional “uh-huh,” and accompanied by the requisite adolescent eye-rolling. One day last week was a completely different story.
Olivia was riding shot-gun and Diego was strapped in his booster seat beneath a couple of blankets, dozing. I picked up K and M, two of Olivia’s friends. When they got into the van, Olivia asked them if they smelled skunk. K and M replied that yes, in fact that did. Olivia was mortified, and began to offer an explanation. She told them how the night before, when she got out of the shower she reached for the towel that had been in her bedroom. The towel had been draped over a pile of clean laundry, which was on the floor, in a basket.
As Olivia used the “fresh” towel to dry herself she found it odd that it was slightly damp and not exactly clean smelling–in fact, it smelled a little like, wait for it, dog urine! Yes, our dog Molly found the towel laying atop the laundry on her bedroom floor and thought it was her pee pad! When Olivia discovered she had just dried herself off with the pee towel, Olivia, jumped back into the shower and took another equally long shower. Maybe it was Olivia’s heightened sense of smell or the thought of all that dog pee, but the thought of sleeping in her own room where the scent of dog pee still lingered was too much for her, so she opened up her bedroom window, and went to sleep in her sister’s room.
The next morning the entire household was awakened to the very real and distinctive smell of skunk spray. Olivia’s open bedroom window allowed the stench to permeate from outside the house. The skunk scent lingered everywhere skunk had been, outside Olivia’s bedroom window, on the front porch, and on the driveway where our van was parked. No wonder K and M could smell it when we picked them up. Maybe it was the idea of Olivia drying herself with the pee towel, or the skunk story, but soon the girls began telling their own skunk stories. K told us about the time a skunk had crawled under her house and died. Her family tried to hire a couple of people to remove it but the stench was so bad no one would go near the dead skunk. Every time they got close enough to remove it, they would vomit. I guess all this talk of dog pee, skunk spray and vomit was just too much for Diego, who I thought had fallen back asleep. I was wrong, Diego was listening, fascinated by the grossness of it all. As K finished telling her story, Diego, chimed in. He asked, how did the skunk die and why didn’t anyone try to give the skunk CPR? With the curiousity of a 7 year-old Diego asked, if they had given the skunk CPR, couldn’t they have vomited in the skunk’s mouth?That was enough to send squeals of eeww among the girls. Diego just laughed out loud, very pleased with himself. I just grimaced and thought to myself, that maybe it was better to have a quite carpool in the morning.