I'm a bad person! Or am I? Do you want in on my emotional conflict? Well, no matter whether you want to or not, you're going to be so be ready to read a heart-breaking story:
It all started in one of the many community halls. Students usually sit together and study in silence. I like this place, because it is quiet, I can concentrate and, much like most American facilities, it allows food... you know, because it's America! Yesterday, however, the lack of a rule prohibiting food in these halls turned out to be my demise.
I was studying Chinese for the vocab quiz I'd have that afternoon. Since it was around lunch-time, almost everybody was eating a snack of some sort. Most people try to keep the food they bring
light and as non-pungent as possible. Most people... but then there are also people like the girl who was just sitting down next to me.
Before her bag even hit my arm and ruined a perfectly fine Chinese character I had spent the last couple of minutes drawing, she pulled out a sandwich. She put it on the desk, sat down, pulled out a can of soda and unwrapped her sandwich. I was enjoying my well-deserved daily Frosty (soft ice-cream) only just until the smell of the girl's sandwich hit my olfactory organ. I have absolutely no idea what she put on there but it very much reminded me of the rotten cheese my Mom pretends to like so much, just to annoy my Dad. Everyone who has known me for more than one encounter with cheese, knows that I hate it just as much as I hate rotten stuff. The combination of both is the logical worst case scenario. In fact, if somebody forced me to either eat a piece of rotten cheese or to kill my hamster, I'd probably kill my hamster... That's how much I despise rotten cheese!
So when the girl was openly enjoying her rotten cheese sandwich, I obviously, wasn't! And most of the other students seemed to notice the strong smell, as well. Since everyone was much too polite
to say anything we just turned our heads away and kept on doing what we had been doing. For me that was eating my Frosty. Unfortunately, every bite of the sad highlight of my day now tasted like
a gouda which had been forgotten in the very far corner of the fridge, growing so much fungus, that it was closer to being alive than most ICU-patients.
Just as I thought it couldn't get any worse, the girl opened the can of soda. Do you know this very artificial smell of energy drinks? Well, imagine that times ten and you get an idea of the nail polish remover she was drinking. The fumes of the "soda" burned in my sinuses and brought tears to my eyes. If it hadn't been for the Chinese quiz I would have just stood up and left. But since I was working to a tight schedule, I did the only thing any courageous human being would do in this very situation, knowing that one person prevents everyone from working efficiently...: I texted a friend (Katharina, you know her from one of my previous articles) and told her all about the girl with the stinky cheese sitting next to me, annoying everyone. In the US I had grown accustomed to thinking that no one here can understand German, so I put my phone - not in sleep mode yet - on the table and realised, a little while later, that the cheese girl was starring at what I had texted to Katharina. To my very embarrassment, it turned out that she wasn't just starring at my text but actually reading it. I had found someone who understood German... yay!
She looked at me as if I had slapped her right in the face. Before I could mumble an apology she jumped up, threw her stuff in her bag and left the community hall. Everyone's eyes followed her on her way out, revealing that they were happy she was finally leaving, but I started to feel really bad for this girl. It would have been much nicer to just ask her to consume her food somewhere else.
Then again, you have to be rather inconsiderate of others in order to eat food with an odor this pungent in a community hall, in the first place. If I should ever come close to her again - and trust me I will know... I'll just follow my nose - I will apologize but also ask her not to do that again!