When I first stepped into my current apartment last August with the rental agent, two things struck me immediately; first, it was by far the least decrepit place she’d shown me and second the odor of cat piss was so overwhelming that I had to steady myself against a wall. It smelled like the alley behind a cat nightclub in Madrid at closing time.
The former renter had obviously been cutting corners in her budget, namely not investing $6 in a kitty litter box, choosing instead to make one corner of the carpet the designated cat latrine.
After three vigorous carpet scrubbings, the smell finally appeared to have left the building. Fast-forward to last week. The recent heat and humidity has somehow reactivated the pee spores and I’m now benefiting from the all the joys of cat ownership without the lazy, demanding cat part.
I’m moving out in August and I don’t plan to be around a heck of a lot in the interim, so I loathe the thought of going through the whole carpet cleaning process again. Unfortunately, I have to regularly get up close and personal with that corner of the room. During the non-stinky period, that area became the dumping ground for my collection of Lonely Planet research items; a small mound of maps, brochures, business cards and cocktail napkins with phone numbers of amorous, toothless waitresses from countryside bars.
I’m forced to kneel in this area and sift through scraps of paper several times a day as I complete my editing and the smell has duly impregnated itself into me and my clothes. Women have been unusually put off by my presence lately – just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse – though the saggy, psyche-ward-escapee bags under my eyes might be contributing to this ostracism.
I know I drone on too much about how unsexy my job can be, yet there are still very few people I’d trade places with right now (eg Lebron James, Beck, whoever’s dating Salma Hayak). That said, I’m not sure I can stoically take almost two months of increasingly offensive cat piss in my life.
The way I see it, my only choice is to start smoking. I’d still stink, but at least I’d stink like everyone else here in Romania and it’s certain to ease my social acceptance in France as well.