Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

summer smells

I’ve been sick all week. Not a horrible kind of sick, where you cough up bucketloads of stuff and need to drink NyQuil like sodapop, but just this real low-level thing where I had a slight wheezing and gunk in the back of my throat, and felt dead-tired constantly. I went to work each day, but every night, I would eat two grilled cheese sandwiches and two packets of Cup-A-Soup, then pass out. So the whole week felt like one continuous day. On Thursday, I slept 11 hours, then I got home from work Friday, fell asleep for 4 hours, then ate Chinese food and went back to bed for twelve hours. Now I don’t feel so bad.

Not much else is up. I have run out of steam on the self-help book, and I’ll get back to it later. I’ve been in a weird Summer Rain sort of mood, something about the smell in the air. (Not the urine and sewage smell of New York, something else.) I even read a few pages of it last night, just to see how it matched up with the pictures in my head. I’d really like to finish this book of short stories about Bloomington, but I feel like there needs to be one core story, one or two things that really pull together the whole book. I just don’t know what it is yet.

And yesterday, I was somewhere – maybe the machine room at work – and I smelled this air conditioning smell, the smell of a totally pure, filtered, and way cold AC unit that reminded me exactly of what Ballantine 308 used to smell like. That used to be a big Mac lab, full of II ci’s, I think. I spent a lot of time there, both as a consultant and as a regular. I don’t remember what it was about that room, but it had a really heavy-duty AC system in there or something, louder than in most rooms, and it looked very artificially bright, like the ceiling had different lamps or tiles in it. I don’t know, but I think they long ago gutted that room and filled it full of generic PCs, so I’m sure that whole era is lost.

OK, I just ate two hot dogs from Mano’s Papaya, so I’m going to wait for my stomach to explode.