The other day when I walked into my bedroom, the place reeked of something between an ammonia factory and a fat-rendering plant. I knew immediately what it was.
I have spent enough time in men's locker rooms to recognize the distinct odor of fermenting sweat. Boys learn the smell at an early age. Usually when the coach informs his charges that gym clothes require washing more than once a year.
Since I started my walks, I go through a lot of socks and shirts. I sweat so profusely that my shirts will not dry out between uses. So, I simply toss them in my laundry basket that hides in my closet. You can see the problem right there. I need a better storage place for my used exercise clothes.
My walking shoes have not presented the same problem. With the exception of the few months Barco lived here, I have always left them in the courtyard. Nothing is quite so rank as well-used shoes in a confined space. That process also kept the sand caked on my shoes from making its way into my bed.
This morning's walking routine was a bit unusual. I had trouble positioning my socks to prevent blisters. Then I had to stop to re-tie both shoes.
I had not walked more than a block and I knew I needed to stop a third time. I could feel something moving around in my left shoe. A leaf. A bit of paper. A pebble. They were all possibilities.
So, I stopped, sat down on the curb, and took off my shoe. It wasn't a leaf. It wasn't a bit of paper. It wasn't even a pebble. As you have already guessed, it was the desiccated husk of a cricket. You can see it right up there.
At least, it was just a cricket and not a ball of stinging ants. Or a wasp. Or a dreaded scorpion.
Every time I feel something in my shoe down here, and realize I have failed to shake them out before shoving my feet in, I think of this Gary Larson cartoon.
I just think of it. I never learn the lesson.