I find myself in a football-size room lined with lab tables and surrounded by all sorts of instruments. Around the perimeter in one corner, are the vaults for radiography. Another corner has the tented rooms used for black light examination of fluorescent dye penetrant. Eddy current and ultrasonic machines line tables on the other side of the lab.
It is not at all like any school I have attended previously.
The demographics are different too. Most of my classmates are male and between the ages of 18 and 25. Actually, I am the only female student out of 115 registered NDT students at this time. (There is one female professor.)
I was sitting near the radiography portion of the lab most of this semester because I had 3 sections of it. I am currently finishing the last section of Advanced Radiography and God-willing it will happen soon.
One of the men at my table started sniffing. Yes, like a dog with his nose in the air. At first, I pretended I didn’t notice.
Then, he began questioning, “Hey! Do you smell gas?” and the rest of us sniffed the air too. No, none of us smelled anything, and told him so.
The Sniffer went on to explain he is very sensitive to odors and he definitely smelled gas. I had to ask myself did I fart and forget about it?
It wasn’t that kind of gas. He smelled exhaust and he got up out of his chair and sniffed the guy sitting between us.
Now, mind you, there are a few students who work on farms before coming to the lab at 7:30 a.m. and you can tell they work on a farm before anyone mentions it, so I sort of nodded in the direction of one such student and say, “Well you know, he works on a farm.”
It is a tough life and I do not want to disparage that in any way, but it is also odoriferous. No, its not him, the Sniffer says.
It wasn’t the guy between us, either, he proclaims after sniffing near his shoulder.
Maybe, you guessed it. Next, he sniffed me. “Did you pump gas this morning?” he asks me.
No, I didn’t.
“It’s you!” he cries. “You smell like exhaust!”
“I DO NOT! I DON’T SMELL LIKE EXHAUST!” Now, I am sniffing my own pits and exclaiming I used deodorant this morning.
The Sniffer is grinning, triumphantly.
“I really like the smell of exhaust. It reminds me of snow days when my dad would get up early to snow blow and he would come in to wake me up and he would smell of exhaust. It’s really a great smell.” He stands over my chair, beaming.
Great. Should I take that as a compliment?! I just want to swat him away, but do not. I simply scowl as he sings the Accolades of Exhaust.
Perhaps, he would find a fart every bit as attractive; I better watch myself.
Later that day I sniff my mittens when I put them on. They were sitting on my desk and I must have used them the last time I pumped gas. Who knew?