Dearest, dearest person of the perfume here in Starbucks,

I must tell you, with great seriousness, that your perfume is very ... PRESENT in my life right now. It's a bit like a punch in the face, actually, or a giant hammer smashing the inside of my nose with its awfulness. It's sweet and tangy and really strong. Like a giant cockroach with a big gun, it startles with its unbelievable awfulness.

I just want you to know that I love you, dearest person of the perfume, despite this, because of your hopefulness. You hoped this morning, when you dabbed the scent about your ears, neck, knees, wrists, breasts, and then apparently, doused it all over your head, that this scent would be your signature scent, the smell that everyone associated with you forever.

It worked! I'm not sure exactly which one of you it is, or how far away you are, but I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER YOUR SCENT in large part because I'm certain it has impressed itself into my head. It reminds me of a dying Avon lady or of the time my friend started using the words, "Jean Nate, y'all!" as her greeting. I'm stuck with it forever, or at least, until I wash my hair.

You are saved, however, from complete anger and annoyance because I can't stop thinking about how, at the same time I'm smelling your perfume, I'm also listening to a musak version of The Police's "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic," while watching a man of 45 or so flirt with a person who is clearly his 18 year old babysitter. His two year old child is there, too.

What I'm saying is ... MY ATTENTION IS A BIT SCATTERED. Otherwise, you would be my worst enemy. We would fight a stick fight over a ravine. We would stand in the rain at dawn with wet noodles. It would be scary.

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Instead, I'll just sit here with my hand over my nose and think about how I chose to come here instead of the office I share with 100 other teachers, because I thought I would be able to focus.

Bless you. Bless your perfume. Bless us every one.