Screw The Roses, I’ll Smell The Rain
I’m writing a little later than I had anticipated today. I wanted to drink…I mean write my feelings before I went to work and read them later tonight so that I could reflect, same day. I chose to roll around in bed for an extra thirty minutes. (I even forewent the gym this morning, against my earlier wishes). I didn’t write as soon as I got home to reflect on everything today, because when I left work I had a splitting headache and just chose to put on sweat pants and lay down. (Again, I didn’t go to the gym). So now here I am, at quarter to nine at night, clicking a few words down in the hope that they seem coherent and at least encapsulate a part of what I’d like to say…
I’ve written over the last few days referencing Hurricane Harvey, and I’m glad to say, all jokes aside, that I’m very thankful that Austin was spared any serious damage from the storm. Forty-eight hours of wind and rain (somewhere north of nine inches of it here, last I heard) were an inconvenience and could make you stir crazy, but at least Aasim and I weren’t forced out of our apartment as a result of treacherous flood waters. Because we were spared that horror, I was offered a lot of quiet reflection time this weekend, some of you may have read about it. One thing I noticed, that at first seemed so silly to me, was how the rain smells here in Austin. Late summer and autumn rain here in the Central Texas Hill Country smells so distinctly different from the rain I’ve smelled over my years. It’s a sweeter, more earthy smell; as though it’s creek water perfumed with fresh grass and leaves. It’s the same molecular compound as falls from the sky on the East Coast, or in Canada, but it smells so different! The rain in New Jersey smells rocky, dirty even, to me. It’s like the smell of freshly cooled asphalt and car exhaust — a wet, metallic smell that comes from a man-made source. In the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia where I went to college, the rain smelled like cheese and manure — there were nothing but chicken and dairy farms in the surrounding hills, so naturally unpleasant organic smells traveled on the rain.
I sat on my balcony thinking about the different kinds of rain I have grown accustomed to smelling in the places I’ve lived. No matter how gross (asphalt and wet cheese) the scents were, they always seemed to smell like home. I remember summer thunderstorms in Jersey where that gravelly cloud would kick up; each time I smell that I remember running into my Grandma’s house one time after a day on the beach when my mother, brother, and I were caught in an out-of-nowhere downpour. It felt like we were going to drown standing up! The Virginia Hills rain smell throws me back to the middle of my fall semester sophomore year, walking from the Einstein Bagels on campus while double-fisting two onion bagels with veggie cream cheese on my way to my French theater class. This newer, Austin rain reminds me of the first holiday season Aasim and I spent in Texas. The community out here unabashedly says, “Merry Christmas” instead of the inclusive, “Happy Holidays”; and grocery stores and billboards all mention Santa, Christ, and family. The holiday season of 2015 was the first time Aasim and I were alone to make our own traditions, and make them we did. We have our Thanksgiving and Black Friday must-dos, and our Christmas Eve and Christmas pastimes that we’ll pass on to our family — far less out of a religious obligation and more out of a love for the time of year and the secular pleasures they bring.
Stranger still, all these thoughts of the smell of rain and obscure memories it elicited were on my mind as I drove into work for my first day at my new job. I’d love to regale you with a minute-by-minute account of what happened today and how great everything is, but frankly, I’m so tired, I’d rather go smell the rain again… Let’s just suffice it all to say that everything is going to be great at this new job. It’s sales, which I’m very good at (I’d better be after five plus years doing it!). The products are great, the marketplace and customer base are both robust and not changing anytime soon, and the people are freakin’ awesome! A room full of 20–30 somethings, with some outliers, all bringing positive energy and inclusiveness to the table. I was vibin’ some good feels today. The absolute highlight of the day, however, was the fact that I got to meet the Febreze man. Yes, in fact there is a Febreze man, who did a few commercials for Febreze until they, to quote him, “decided to go in a different direction”. This guy’s apparently acted in over 60 commercials, but saw his acting with Febreze to be his meal ticket “a la Progressive Flo” — again to quote him. I didn’t get to speak to him much today, but he seems like a really cool dude. His demeanor, as someone who literally has tons of video content out on the internet but who’s still grounded enough to kick ass in an e-commerce sales gig in Austin, is refreshing.
Everyone’s demeanor in this new place was refreshing, much like a room after some air freshener — like Febreze air effects! (I literally own a can of Febreze for every room and every season. Save me the carcinogen speech, I know they’re terrible!). I’m hoping that this new job will become as comfortably familiar to me as the smell of the rain. I’ve bounced from job to job, task to task, feeling less determined to pick up the mantle of a new company’s mission with each new addition to resume. In French, the verb resumer, which is where we get the English resume from, literally means to summarize (duh). If I were to summarize my career path right now, I’d say I’ve taken several leaps toward something, except I really don’t know what that something is just yet so I’ve just done what I’m good at. Eventually something will fall into my path that makes the most sense right? Presently I’m hoping writing everyday will either earn me a meal ticket, or, through reflection, I’ll discover what it is I’m supposed to be doing. In the meantime, I’ll keep smelling the rain. I do hope this new job brings some stability though, I’d hate to have to tell these guys that I’m really more of a Glade man.