That Cupboard Smell

Published on March 30th, 2009 in: Issues, Smell-O-Rama |

By Sandy

While filling out my answers to one of the Facebook memes (I know, I know), I was forced to admit the ultimate truth about myself: I am a weirdo. Maybe I could just say that I’m very picky, but when my fiancé Chris is yelling at me for rinsing a dish that’s already clean, is that “very picky bordering on levels of weirdness?”

I realized that I was venturing into this territory when I was at a new job a couple years ago and reached for a dish at lunchtime. After a brief sniff, I promptly went to the sink and washed it. My co-worker observed all of this and asked what I was doing. I told her, “I hate that cupboard smell on plates and glasses.” It was true; there was a weird, stale smell to the dishes. My ideal plate and glass comes straight from the dishwasher: all steamy and hot and. . . sterilized. I can’t explain it. Wait, maybe I can.

Photo from Everyday Crafty Goodness blog

I think it stems from my childhood in Brownies, when we used to do baking in the church basement kitchen. Everything was so old in that building. So dirty and creaky. The kitchen was disgusting to me because it reeked of ancient wood and dust. Every time we had to bake and use the communal dishes and utensils, I would gag. So this was either the situation that started this or aggravated my phobia so much it became an early memory. Contrary to what this entire story might imply, I was not a princess (am not). I eat everything that’s on my plate! (And then some!) I do all my chores! I just hate the smell of cupboards on my dishes.

After that day, my aforementioned co-worker came by almost every morning, after she cleared the dishwasher, and dropped off a “fresh” glass and dish. I guess a true friend is one who humors your weirdness.

But you know, there actually is a time limit to this smell phobia. I find that, after a certain period of time, I get “used to” the cupboard itself, as if the cupboard becomes used enough and loses its dustiness and smell (in the twisted world in my head). Only then will I cease to wash clean dishes or utensils like a deranged person. Annoying, yes? While I’m at it, I should mention I hate plastic plants and fake fruit. I can’t eat food around them. I keep picturing the dust and artificial material being in my food, or near it. But I like food too much to let this ruin my day, so I will just move as far away as I can and eat.

Now that we are in a fairly new apartment (only one year old), I find the cupboards have a creepy, sweet, dusty smell. Like the paint smells this way. Or the wood. I’m not quite sure, but no matter—I’m gagging all the time. I have to wash a dish if it’s been sitting in the cupboard for a couple of days. Ultimately, this leads to Chris yelling at me: “It’s already clean! You’re just wasting water now!” So not only am I a weirdo, I’m a water waster. I’m waiting for that time period to end, so I can enjoy my dishes without fear of ruining the environment more than I have to. For now, we have a dishwasher that I can raid immediately after a wash cycle.

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