28 August 2009 Genocide and the Scent of Unfresh Panties
Two young black women walked by the streetside stoop of my newly-adopted domicile in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington D.C. where I sat enthralled, frustrated, and horrified by the great Samantha Power‘s Pulitzer Prize winning book A Problem From Hell. But even America in the Age of Genocide couldn’t hold my attention over one woman saying to the other, “Girl, you betta remove allll yo’ thangs from da premises-a-his apartment. I’m talkin’ ev-er-y-thang…yo’ underwea…’cause you know he be sniffin’ em.”
“You think so?”
“Girl now donchoo even be silly. It is 2000 and 9…I’m just tellin’ you how it is.”
“So you sayin’ panty-sniffin’ in 2009 is rampant?”
At this, they both laughed, and so did I. It nearly got awkward when their laughter suddenly ceased and they turned to address mine. I could tell they’d not anticipated my eavesdropping.
I smiled and said, “Please forgive my gender for our dirty, dirty ways.” At this, they laughed even louder; but as they walked away I realized I’d just implied myself privy to a rampant panty-sniffin’ reality about which I was unaware. But then again, how was I to know? Call me a Quaker, but I’ve not sniffed panties. In fact, I’m fairly confident that if I had a pair at my disposal right now, I’d probably ignore them.
…or would I? After all, maybe there’s some fine olfactory quality to discarded, (presumably) unfresh panties that I’m altogether failing to consider. Maybe panty-sniffin’ is that awesome something that I never knew was missing from my life until I sniffed my way into a rampant subculture of deviants seeking aromatic undergarments. I laughed at the thought of my panty-sniffin’ friends and me sniffin’ panties at some bizarre panty-sniffin’ social somewhere; before jotting down the conversation I’d just heard, and returning to America in the Age of Genocide.