You know when you read a novel and it says that somebody smelled rotten milk and they retched? And you're like, whatever, plug your nose and I don't understand what the big deal is? Everybody just shut up and leave them alone.
I've never smelled rotten food and almost vomited before, mostly because I pride myself on having a kitchen where I notice when things have been neglected for so long that they are chemically transforming. The same is not true of the basement of my department, which is nominally used by an entire building full of faculty and students but doesn't seem to have anybody specifically tasked with cleaning it. And earlier this week, I opened the kind of gross fridge in the communal kitchen and literally almost threw up. (I didn't, because I have an iron constitution and also because I really wanted coffee and my tiny jug of milk was in that fridge.) It had kind of smelled weird before I left with my brother on vacation, but now it smelled rotten, mostly because everything inside was rotten. Like, there was my milk, but there were also four other things of milk, all of which had curdled, probably weeks ago. There was what appeared to be a piece of bread, which had been completely encased in fuzzy green mold. There was a package of salami labeled "April 4," which had begun to grow moldy, which led me to believe that it was not this April 4, and was possibly not last April 4 either. It was like a Steven King novel.
Except Kathy Bates did not break my knees and make me do it, I did it voluntarily, because I am apparently at the point where I will edit journals and do my taxes and scrape mold out of butter compartments and still think of it as a break from my work. And that is why I spent the next hour taking apart the fridge and scrubbing sheets of mold off the interior so that I can use it instead of walking to our apartment - literally 30 seconds away - for milk. It's probably good that I'm going to the US next week.