September 6th, 2007

amd: blue bottle

the house down the street

When our schedules permit it (i.e. on tuesdays and thursdays), K. and I walk a few blocks together in the morning before our ways to work force us in separate directions. On those days, we pass a certain house one block west our own on the northern side of the street. And every time, without fail, there is a powerful smell emanating from it.

And that smell is bisque.

It's not a faint smell. It's strong. It reeks of fresh, hot bisque in a way that only a restaurant that specializes in bisque should. And this is at 8:30 in the morning! By god, surely even the most bisque-loving of my neighbors can't possibly be so addicted to bisque that they have it routinely for breakfast!

Now, a few years ago, the journal that I work for had its offices in a section of the hospital that was used for labwork. Often I would have to pass huges drums that contained such hazardous materials that they needed a several sheets of warnings about how the contents were meant to be handled. From time to time, walking the halls, my co-workers and I would smell hot soup. Some hearty vegetable soup or minestrone. And we'd find it pleasant until we remembered that the cafeteria was on the other end of the hospital (a massive building larger than the average city block). And so we came to realize (as slowly as we could!) that this smell was not in fact soup. It was some sort of lab work (probably involving human or animal materials) that smelled like soup. It took a while after we moved out of the hospital for me to enjoy the smell of soup again.

And now we have the Bisque House. No restaurants for blocks and blocks (and probably none that even sell bisque). And completely localized to this one house, from which no cooking steam seems to emerge. The smell of butter, milk, and salty seafood (yet never the smell of rotting seafood remains).

And I have to ask myself: what is going on inside this house that smells of bisque?