When I got to my cubicle this morning, I was overwhelmed by a mysterious (and awful) odor… an odor so nasty I could barely think straight. I couldn’t decide if something (perhaps a mouse) had crawled into the ceiling above my desk and perished… or if there had been some sort of pest spray used over the weekend, or something else? I really had no idea.
Whatever it was, it was seemingly worse at my desk than anywhere else, and my eyes were watering with the severity of it. I don’t consider myself all that sensitive to odors usually, but this one was so foul as to not be easily ignored. I asked my co-workers if they had noticed the smell? Some said they noticed it a little, but it became obvious that I was more bothered than anyone else.
I searched my desk drawers, looked in my overhead cabinet and asked the folks who sit nearby if they had any ideas as to the source of the stench. Nobody did, so I sent a friendly email to the gal that works with our building maintenance people. She assured me that someone would be by when he had a chance.. As I waited, I began to think that the smell was actually getting worse. After an hour I began to wonder if maybe it was somehow coming FROM my computer monitor (that’s where it seemed the strongest).
I stood up, and looked behind the monitor. There were some dust bunnies, a post-it-note and a coffee mug.
A coffee mug which to my utter dismay, STILL held a good little bit of Friday's cappucino - now curdled and nasty!! (I know – yuck!)
And just like that, I knew the origin of the jarring odor that had haunted me all morning. I was glad to have solved my little mystery, but I was also quite humiliated. After all, I’d made quite a ruckus trying to get to the bottom of the disgusting smell, when I’d been the cause of it all along.
Moral to this story? Clean our your coffee cup every day before leaving the office… and don’t make a fuss over something that irritates you - until you are POSITIVE it’s not your fault to begin with.