Kids don’t get political correctness. You know all those neurotransmitters from our various senses to our brain that makes us stop and think before saying something? It apparently takes a long time to develop, which makes it awesome to be a kid because they have a license to talk without thinking. They get to say whatever they want as and when they feel like it.
Like when it’s cold, they don’t think about why it’s cold, or exactly how many degrees of coldness is in the air, or how the cold is affecting anyone else. All they care about is that “It is cold, woman, do your job and make me feel less cold.”
So anyway, our block of flats has been undergoing a lift upgrading program so there’s been a lot of workers coming and going recently. And most of these workers spend the entire day engaged in manual labor so it’s understandable that they don’t smell like roses and lavender by the middle of the afternoon. Last week, we had the opportunity to ride with one of them up the elevator on the way back from school.
As the lift door closed, Tru looked around and remarked, “Eh, what’s that smell?”
That smell was obviously coming from the guy in front of me who by now, was starting to look more than a little uncomfortable.
Spontaneously, Kirsten joined in. “YA SO SMELLY RIGHT? EEEEE, I THINK IT’S UNCLE,” while pinching her nose with one hand and waving vigorously in front of her nose with the other.
It was turning out to be a very long elevator ride.
I considered my options. I could go with a) “Huh? Nah, I don’t smell anything…” or b) “It probably came from outside, guys” or c) “Oh look! Buttons! Who wants to help me press these super fun lift buttons?”
Meanwhile, the poor guy was shifting visibly on the spot, diffusing more of that unadulterated masculine sweat odor.
I was still mulling over my options when the door finally opened and I hastily shooed the kids out while glancing apologetically at the guy. Once we were safely home, I had some explaining to do.
Me: Kids, we can’t say that uncle is smelly ok.
Tru: But he is very smelly what. I cannot breathe just now, you know.
Me: Yes, ok, he was a bit smelly but it’s kind of not his fault.
Kirsten: I think he poo poo in his pants.
Me: I doubt it. Uncle works very hard fixing the lift so he didn’t have time to bathe.
Kirsten: We must tell uncle to bathe.
Me: No no, that’s not nice. Next time when you smell someone smelly, just bear with it. It’s not nice to say it in front of them.
Tru: Only when uncle go out already, then we can say it’s smelly?
Me: *sigh* Well, I guess that’s ok. If you really have to say it, it’s better to say it after they leave.
I’m guessing at some point, I’ll have to deal with the whole issue about talking about people behind their backs but for now, it’ll have to do.