My hands have a funny smell this afternoon. I’ve washed them, but it won’t go away. It’s a sort of bitter but slightly meaty smell. I wonder if it could be the three day old chilli I reheated at lunchtime, oozing out of my fingertips.
I can’t stop thinking about the smell and even though I’m at work, in an office full of people, I can’t resist the urge to keep sniffing my fingers, just to check if it’s still there. I appreciate that office based finger sniffing is not really OK, and so try to disguise it by scratching my nose at the same time.
I email my boyfriend at work to check that this is the kind of thing that other people do and not just me, because sometimes I tell him things that I think are quite normal, and he tells me I am a freak.
“My hands have got a funny smell on them that won’t come off,” I write, “and I keep doing that thing where you can’t help but pretend to scratch your nose and sniff them all the time. (That is a thing isn’t it?)”
His reply is not reassuring.
I feel suddenly very aware of the other people in the office. I decide to keep my hands on the keyboard.