For the last two weeks, I have been smelling pot roast. Every morning, I sit down in my home office and am overcome by the smell of cooking meat.
The first time it happened, I assumed someone was cooking in the kitchen. When I walked down, the counters were clear and the oven was empty. Hmm…
The next time it happened, I dragged my boyfriend in to sniff out my work space. I keep forgetting that he lost his sense of smell during his bout with COVID-19 in December 2020, and it still has not returned. He was no help.
Everyday, I would mention the smell. Pot roast this. Post roast that. Where the hell is this smell coming from?!
After a week, I reached the conclusion that the rat I hadn’t seen out back recently climbed into the wall and died. Arizona is hot and dry, so the corpse might simply have roasted in the heat rather than decaying. Yes, I concluded, there was a roasted rat in the wall!
Then, I stated smelling pot roast elsewhere. In bed, in the car, and at the grocery store. The smell was following me, permeating every corner of my life! What on God’s green earth could it be?!
I concluded that the smell must be emanating from me. I was recently diagnosed with a bacterial infection, but haven’t started the antibiotics yet. Maybe the bacteria smells like pot roast and it’s oozing out of every pore! I am the pot roast.
Then I realized dogs like meat. We’re staying with my in-laws and their German Shepard is terrified of me if I’m not extending a handful of meat or offering a belly rub. She still runs away with her tail between her legs when she sees me, so maybe I don’t smell of human food. Besides, no one else has given me sideways glances when I walk into a room, hands devoid of a roasting pan.
Yesterday, I determined that I must be experiencing olfactory hallucinations. I looked up phantosmia. The phenomenon can be caused by a head injury, upper respiratory infection, aging, temporal lobe seizures, inflamed sinuses, brain tumors, or Parkinson’s disease. My current bacterial infection is not in my lungs, which leaves… a brain tumor? I guess I should schedule an appointment with my ENT doctor.
I am allergic to beef and I hate the smell of pot roast. I don’t know whether the cause is dead vermin, my personal scent, or a brain tumor. Regardless, I have discovered my own personal hell: pot roast, beyond what the eyes can see.