It's official: air fresheners have messed with my brain.
A few months ago, the maintenance staff at my office building started using fruity and/or vanilla spice scented deodorizers in the public restrooms. It's one of those systems that automatically sprays the air every 30 minutes or so. If you happen to be in there when it goes off, it's like being gas-bombed with a fruit stand. It's a heavy chemical freshness that stays on your tongue for a while and probably causes cancer. While this is a great improvement over the more common stenches of bleach and raw sewage, it doesn't really elimate the bad smells; it just adds good smells to bad smells, resulting in a horrible new smell that taints the good parts of that smell forever.
Case in point: I arrive at a cherished friend's home for mimosas and brunch. Ever the magnificent host, he has baked some fresh sweet rolls for our enjoyment. The heady aromas of vanilla and cinnamon fill the air. I'm really excited about the goodness to come for about three seconds, and then I'm hit by a weird olfactory flashback. Though his apartment is perfectly spotless and undeniably stink-free, I'm suddenly overcome by the foul ghost-like memories of public toilet. My brain provides the phantom brown note to an otherwise delicious symphony of scents.
So my friend makes his grand entrance from the kitchen, proudly presenting his well-styled platter of gorgeous homemade pastries, and catches me cringing from the invisible funk in the room. I start laughing as I try to explain the reasons for my reaction, but I'm an idiot, so I only make things worse by laughing, then he got all fierce on me... until this sentence came out of his mouth:
"So my sticky buns smell like shit, do they?!"
And then we laughed really hard and got drunk and ate cinnamon rolls.