I am hopped up on Dayquil in an attempt to beat down the symptoms of what I thought was the beginning of a cold this morning. It's not working. I know this, because two people have asked me if I'm alright while looking sympathetically into my bloodshot eyes.

I am getting a pretty good idea what is causing my sneezing, sinus congestion, and red, swollen eyes, though, and it's not a virus. Someone I work with is flagrantly flouting a fairly simple office rule and is wearing perfume when she or he knows perfectly well that this is a perfume-free office.

A few days ago, I was sniffling and sneezing at my desk, and my cubicle neighbour said Don't you wish people would stop wearing perfume around here?

What perfume? I asked.

Can't you smell it? That's probably why you're having such a tough time.

You see, I have such a quick reaction to some perfumes that I have already been arrested of my ability to smell before I can consciously recognize that there is perfume present. The office went perfume-free in January, but according to my cubicle neighbour, people have started forgetting about it over the last few weeks. Guess who's been fighting to breathe and see clearly for the last month or so? You'll know me by the sodden tissues in my left hand and the bottle of Visine Allergy in my right.

Early last week, I fired off an e-mail to my boss asking her to send out a reminder about the no-perfume policy and explain that the perfume is directly affecting some people in the office. Today, someone is fucking wearing some goddamn perfume again. I know, because someone was kind enough to mention that they could smell it lingering in the air. I think we need to put some people through a literacy and reading comprehension course around here. The ones who smell the sweetest get a free weekend trip to a Hooked On Phonics seminar.

What is really bothering me is that I can't breathe well enough to ferret out who is responsible for my condition, and I don't want to make a massive case out of it and end up being the co-worker who constantly whines about her environmental sensitivities. I definitely don't want my personality aligned with that of person who files a grievance with HR claiming that she almost asphyxiated when someone had the gaul to decorate the office with latex balloons.

No, really, I am not that person. I'm not even allergic to latex. Anymore.

Maybe I'll bring some cling wrap to the office tomorrow, encase my cubicle in it, and put up a "Perfume-Free Zone" sign on the outside. Not only will I be able to avoid looking like I just came off a crying jag, but I will also be able to slip into an oxygen-deprived coma and forget the sad fact that I had to cling-wrap myself into my cubicle to fend off the stench of my fellow officemates.

Does being the allergic co-worker who has to constantly mop her nose with wads of tissue make me feel a little pathetic? Yes.

Am I completely forgetting to eat my lunch while I write this post? Yes.

Whatever. I could stand to lose five pounds.

In other news, my friend Nell is moving away to attend grad school in Ontario today, and although I am happy for her good fortune in being accepted and receiving funding and finding a decent place to live, etc., etc., I selfishly would rather have her crazy ass here in Cityville.


And in yet other news, our crazypants cat, Oskar, has been somewhat better behaved. He seems to respond well to time-outs in his pet carrier and has been doing his feline best not to bite my feet.

He has such a hard time with it, though. Several times I have caught him eyeing my feet from around corners and under chairs, his little body tight as he restrains himself against his desire to sink his fangs into my warm foot flesh. On one occasion, Oskar actually grabbed his own paw with his teeth and chewed on it while staring lustily and my left heel.

The kitty jail/pet carrier time-outs are working so well that I am considering getting one of those metal dog cages for myself. Every time I light up a cigarette, the Fiery One can toss me in there to consider my sin for twenty minutes.

And if it doesn't make me quit smoking, we may just turn a new corner our relationship.

I will leave you with that thought, because as I write this your mind is probably already populating the metal cage with fur-covered handcuffs, a studded collar, and a swing, and I don't need to colour in all the details for you.

Oh, you didn't go there? Sorry. This might help take your mind off it.

Places I've been recently: petite anglaise, My Boyfriend Is A Twat, and poems by Denise Levertov.