Friday, May 30, 2003
by Lenka Reznicek [permalink] 
Something is Rotten in the State of Illinois

Those of you that live in Chicago may know what I'm talking about, but this phenomenon may also occur in other places; I just don't know. Periodically, I've noticed a strange foul smell on the wind that seems to emanate from the western direction of town.

No, this isn't some thinly-veiled slam aimed at Shaumburgian strip-mall sprawl - I'm talking about a real stench here.

It has a mushroomy, fungal, basement sort of funk to it...but it's thick and putrescent at the same time. It's not fleshly in nature, and it doesn't smell like a Lake Michigan fishkill, nor a morgue with a power outage. Neither is it the scent of a mildewy basement, nor the earthy aroma of a bag of champignons.

What it smells like most is a plastic carton of supermarket white mushrooms forgotten for a few months in the bottom of the vegetable crisper - not just wrinkled, brown mushrooms, but black liquefied mushrooms. The kind that create a ghostly fetor that haunts your kitchen for weeks like an elusive smelly phantom, until you open the ill-fated crisper and discover the Ground Zero of Stink, hidden under several tubes of refrigerated biscuits, a bag of wilted cilantro and three large beets.

Don't ask me how I know: just take it on face value that I do know...ahem.

...and that is the smell I smell when we walk around the North side of town. Has anyone else noticed it ? Does anyone know what it is, or where it comes from? I've thought of stockyards, garbage dumps, papermills, algal blooms - but none of them seem to fit.

Maybe I'll call G-Rod's office to complain about it. (and I thought the Vermont governor's nickname - HoHo - was bad.)

Mayor Daley's office would probably tell me, "It's out of our jurisdiction. Call Schaumburg."