This morning I threw out some cottage cheese that suffice it to say, the smell when I opened the container not only stung my eyes and brought tears, but I am confident was pungent enough to revive a boxer who had been knocked out cold by his opponent. My God!
Here’s what had happened – periodically over the past week or so, whenever I opened the refrigerator I got a strange whiff and couldn’t ascertain what it was or where it was coming from. And, to make matters even more confusing, sometimes I just would not smell anything wrong. So, I would put it out of my mind in those times; unattended. Until I caught the next whiff. Then, I would look at the things in and around my refrigerator in an attempt to determine just where that unpleasant smell could be emanating from…never seeing anything wrong; no visible signs.
Until this morning, I never opened anything. Everything looked perfect; so I assumed I must have been imagining the whiffs I had been getting. This morning however, I could no longer deny its existence and decided to dig deeper. I zeroed in on the cottage cheese and as soon as I lifted the lid… My God! The smell! The color! I will spare you the very graphic description of what I found, but suffice it to say I am absolutely mortified that not only did I live amongst that, but that I was able to ignore what was happening literally under my very nose for so long.
You’re smart… you see where this is heading, yes? As true as my story is, I cannot help but to marvel at its analogous component. Don’t know about you, but I know damned well that at times during this life of mine, even as I have gotten a “whiff” of something bad, something going rotten around me, I have chosen to ignore the stench… until the very last minute. In some situations, I had opted to attempt to over-power the bad smells with as much smell-goods as I could; hoping to drown out the obvious noise of something curdling. Sigh.
Sometimes life is like that – some things, situations and people have passed the expiration date and it is simply time to get rid of them before they stink up the place (yes, I could try to say it nicer, but we are way passed superficiality, aren’t we?)! Oftentimes we hold on to things and people way longer than is good for either them or us; hoping for what? That maybe this time it wouldn’t’ smell? That maybe, just maybe if we turn the temperature up on that thermostat just a bit more it would preserve things a bit longer?
The desire to hold on to the familiar, to what may look good or perfect is one that is universal – most of us prefer to maintain the status quo than to shake things up. The familiar, even if bad, seems to bring most of us a sense of security in a way that the unknown never can. Sadly for many, a stinking fish is better than no fish at all. Sadly. But it can bring you harm. Let’s say for instance I had ignored both the stench and the sickly color (come on, just pretend with me for the sake of my point… sheesh!) and decided to place a dollop of this cottage cheese next to a clump of some plump grapes and eat it, the resulting food poisoning or effect with some fancy name I would have invited onto and into myself would have been note-worthy! I would have done myself harm and would have had no one but myself to blame!
The signs are there. Truly. Whether we choose to acknowledge them or not is entirely and solely up to us; but they are there. At times they are obvious, like my cottage cheese (with its stink and expiration date that was in November 2015) and other times they are a tad more subtle; but they are there. When something goes bad, if we are paying attention, something will always alert us. Situations or people rarely turn without some sort of siren going off – an unsightly color or a sickly stench – something.
When it is time to move on or to throw out, try as you might to walk past or ignore, trust me when I tell you you can only keep that up for so long – sooner or later, the stench will get you!