What’s That Smell?

Him: Do you have the oven on?

Her: No. What I’m smelling right now is lighter fluid. Like someone is firing up a BBQ.

Him: Yes, lighter fluid! Why do I smell it in the house?

Her: Kitchen window is open. I’ll investigate.

So I did investigate. First I stuck my nose up to the kitchen window. The lighter fluid smell was coming from outside, but no neighbors were outside. I didn’t hear the sounds of anyone having a BBQ. All the yards were dark. To get a better bead on where the smell might be coming from, I stepped out onto the front stoop.

The smell of butane slapped me in the face so hard it made my eyes water. There was no telling what direction the scent was wafting from, because it was everywhere.

Other people likely would have called neighbors, the gas company, or maybe 911. I shrugged my shoulders, went back inside, closed the kitchen window, reported to the husband it smelled like someone had crop dusted our street with lighter fluid, and went back to making dinner. If I’m going to die in a fiery conflagration, I’d prefer to do it on a full stomach. Wouldn’t want to arrive in any possible afterlife with low blood sugar and a grumbling tummy.

By the time we sat down to eat a few minutes later, the smell had dissipated, at least inside our house, so I forgot all about it. We ate, watched an episode of Star Trek Prodigy, I did a little reading, and then off to bed I went. With not a care in the world and my stomach pleasantly filled with feta and basil ravioli, I immediately fell into a deep slumber.

This is probably where you’re thinking we were rudely awakened in the middle of the night by some terrifying catastrophe, but no, we were not. I slept for for four hours, awakened at 2 am as I do these days, and bounced off to the kitchen to make myself a cup of coffee. While I was waiting for the water to boil, light coming from the neighbor’s workshop caught my eye. I hadn’t noticed whether or not they were on during the nasty smell event during my dinner making, but why would I? It’s as normal for those lights to be on at all hours of the night as it is for the stars to be in the sky.

The fact our neighbor is in his workshop tonight, doing whatever it is he does back there, does provide a possible answer to why the air was thick with the smell of lighter fluid. I’ve only been in his workshop once. It was a tool-filled place which also contained a gas welding rig and a variety of other tanks/containers holding an assortment of gases/liquids that required warning stickers. Unless further evidence presents itself, or I hear anything on the grapevine, I’m just going to assume he had some sort of incident in the workshop involving butane or kerosene.

If I bump into him on trash day, maybe I politely ask if they noticed any strange smell on Saturday night. More likely, now that I’ve written it all down, I will forget all about the night the air smelled of lighter fluid. Unless it happens again. Once is weird. Twice in a period of time before I have forgotten the first instance escalates the situation greatly. I would prefer the air outside my house not reek of chemicals on the regular. Can’t be healthy.

And thus ends my tale of the Stinky Air Incident. 🤣

Note: There are probably a hundred other explanations for why I stepped onto the front stoop and got slapped in the face with the overwhelming smell of lighter fluid, but this one seems most likely. I love our neighbors. They’re odd in all the right ways.