Friday, January 19, 2007

Scent of a...kitty? (Ruby, No!)

There are two things in life that, for me at least, ascend to the level of olfactory perfection.

One is the lingering scent of a woman’s perfume on a pillow.

Light, transient, barely there, it hints at sultry, smoky hours spent in embrace after embrace and reminds you of sweaty, twisted sheets and hot caresses with warm, moist lips whispering sweet breathy nothings.

The other is a new car smell. Nasal nirvana. The most perfect scent in the world. Suddenly, you forget to call her. Anyway, she didn’t wipe her feet before she got into your last car and you’ll be damned if you mess up that black upholstery with blonde hair everywhere. Hey, you’ve got six cylinders, twenty four valves, five speeds and all the perfume in the world! Let’s drive to the end of the block, just ‘cause we can! What else do you need?

Since car costs these days now require not only your first born but you’d better still be fertile ‘cause number two is committed too, you get to enjoy that smell less and less and crave it more and more. Men are starting to wrap their new rides in plastic every night just to hang on to the scent a few months longer.

Now consumer advocates will chide that the smell is really just the curing of resins and glues used to put the car together and is nothing to get excited about. True and now you also know where that fat obnoxious kid who claimed there wasn’t a Santa Claus two years before you and your friends stopped believing got off to.

My last car held on to that new car smell for almost seven months. It was wonderful, I thought it would never end. When it did, the car got hit, parked in a lot. The body work introduced a new bouquet of “near new” smells that, while not as good as new car smell, were a whole lot better than everyday car smell.

And I guess I had that treat coming. New car and then near new for almost a year. I deserved it. Richly. Because the car just before that one had the shortest new car smell stint I can ever remember. One minute it was there, the next minute it was gone and I can only thank one for that.

Uh huh. The cat.

Ruby.

I had bought a new Ford Probe. Red. Pull me over and gimme a ticket officer red. He eventually obliged, but not for a few months yet. It was wonderful; the car, not the ticket. A red SE with a black interior, low to the ground, big ass 205 radials all around. Chest thumping, grunting good. And it smelled just like a new car should. I picked it up on a Tuesday. I drove it to work for the week and on Friday night, I thought I’d give it it’s first wash and wax.

Just finished as the sun set. Ruby, being the cat he was, had clawed at the screen door and howled just long enough for me to let him out as I started to clean the Ford. The other cats were inside but adventure boy was bucking for an evening romp. We always had the cats in for the night and brought them in in the afternoon when we got home from work. Some of them, left to their own devices, would sense as dusk approached and so did we, that we’d cart them indoors. They became scarce and I can fill a book with chasing Crittur through woods and behind arbor vitas. But this is Ruby’s story. He, for all his wanderlust, was relatively easy to get inside. You’d call him and, since he thought the world revolved around him, he’d come to check out what riches of the universe you were about to pile at his feet. So I felt OK letting him out and taking care of the car while he did his cat thing. Whatever that cat thing was. He was fixed, so there wasn’t much he could do. At least that’s what we thought.

I had just buffed off the last bit of carnauba wax and rolled the car into the garage. Job well done and maybe I’d treat myself to sitting in the thing for a few minutes to breathe deeply. Nope. Ruby had another idea. I heard a sound not unlike someone flogging a sack of flour with a truncheon. A deep thumping.

This was not normal. Nor was it good.

It was Ruby, so both of my anticipations were answered at once. He came bounding down the driveway, the same long driveway he had ridden the neighbor’s dog up, ensuring that we’d never speak to those folks as long as we lived there, and crawled into the nether regions of the garage.

That is to say, he crawled right under the car.

No problem so far. I got down on my hands and knees and gently tried to coax him out. When I did that, I got a good look at him and realized two things:

1-Why he bounded.

2-That my car was toast.

Ruby was drooling like a septuagenarian at his first strip club. His eyes were crossed and watery and he was breathing heavily. And he stunk.

Yep, Ruby had taken a face full of close quarter skunk.

And now he was sharing with me, the garage, and the car.

Poor little guy was hurt and scared. I got him to come out from under the car and then wondered what to do with him. Can’t keep him outside. Can’t keep him in the garage. Sure can’t let him in the house. I settled on putting him in the enclosed back porch. While he was relatively safe, unless of course local wildlife chose to gather and poke fun at him, or he’d piss dogs off through the screening, I’d high tail it down to the grocery store to buy a gross of tomato juice. I don’t know if it works, but I saw it in a Disney movie once and that’s got to count for something, right?

It was a plan. I changed clothing since I had carried the cat to the porch. Then off in the car to the Stop and Shop.

Sniff?

What was this?

Skunk.

In the car.

Not the animal.

The smell.

Ruby, hiding under the thing, had left off just enough scent to overcome new car smell.

Forever.

I shouldn’t, but I will tell you that as I bathed him for the umpteenth time in tomato juice that night, I was more than tempted, more than once, to make sure his head was de-scented.

Just hold him under a few more minutes…

Ruby!

No!

Bunny on.

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