Sunday, June 28, 2009

olfactory mnemonics

A surge of the scent of mop water filled my nose and head,
with the days I served my time as an indentured servant
with Stockholm Syndrome, for my family's petroleum business.
"What's that disgusting smell?" said Mel, really not
knowing where to begin in only recognizing it as gross.
But I knew. I knew if you didn't wash a mop
and squeeze it dry after scrubbing a dirty floor with it,
it would smell sour the next day, and that that very smell
was the smeared stain of laziness and neglect
for the sake of who-knows-what of doing a half-assed
cleaning job to any building's floor.


steve d said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sabra Embury said...


steve d said...

i know...that was pretty much tumbleweeds and coughs.

your post sounded like you looking back and taking some sort of stock or moral inventory for not doing a good enough job...recognizing your part.

and this is me, imagining if i were the kind of guy that would whistle or catcall at know, as if i were driving around in a camaro, with feathered hair and no shirt and oblivious attitude and all testosterone...nevermind. it was a bad joke...

anyway, i liked this usual.

Sabra Embury said...


some scientists say this thing about smell relating to memory & when I smelled sour mop water walking into a Columbia University building I knew most people's reactions were going to be: ew, somethings stinks in here, without even having a clue about what caused it & immediately I was taken back to when I worked at my parents convenient store in Tennessee & was grateful for the humility the experience gave me.

I wrote down what happened on a post it & transcribed it last night after not sleeping for two days. I finally knocked myself out with whiskey, so tried and true.

Taking moral inventory = aerobics

steve d said...

humility is becoming more and more of an essential part of my well being. gratitude and humility. some friends of mine were looking down on the multitudes from their ivory tower and commenting something about how cynicism = intelligence and i thought about and i totally disagreed...there's no humility where there is cycnicism.

Sabra Embury said...


This can be broken down so many ways, Steve. First of all, intelligence to me isn't just one thing, like love isn't just one thing; these concepts have to be looked at on a spectrum.

So let's look at the facet of intelligence that deals with cynicism, which I guess would be in the realm of realism mixed with awareness either interlaced with optimism or pessimism; then there's the skeptic who is cautious, but not bitter.

So cynicism is synonymous with contention mixed with distrust. This to me is a highly flammable cocktail that can easily spread an attitude of toxicity among masses.

I have known plenty of people who are extremely realistic who go out of their way to be positive for the sake of grace and I find those people to be the of the most intelligent. For one because they are more patient. And two, they're just more fun to be around.

It's like this funny cycle cynics get themselves in, this miserable cycle where no one wants to be around them because they're negative and then they go head and keeping calling the world a shit hole. So really, their reality, the reality of the cynic is neutralized by their own hostile arrogance.

Sabra Embury said...

So yes, I agree. There is no humility in cynicism.

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