Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Keep It Real Tuesday

Finding Outside

I've never been an outdoorsy girl. Because you can't control the air out there. There's the brightness and heat of the sun. And bugs. Bugs! Especially spiders. Ew. And there's never anything to do, I was always so sure.

I didn't suspect all my thoughts about it would change with this job I took recently.

Remember I mentioned it back in the spring? I couldn't say much then, but I'll say more now.

I'm an odor monitor for a local study. I won't get into the science of it, but basically our team gathers certain types of data, with our noses and various instruments, to be used as seen fit by whomever in the future.

And we sit. We sit a lot. In the sun, in the rain, in the wind, in the heat. In the outdoors. It is our job.

I've come to like it. A whole bunch. The warmth of the sun, the feel of the breezes. I like to stand strong, whatever the element. I like the smell of rain, the sounds of the birds. I've a favorite, even: The Eastern Meadowlark. Such a beautiful song. And my least favorite, a killdeer. I love how they protect their eggs, but they're loud and paranoid and naggy.
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And it turns out there's lots to do outside. The peace of it is so nice.

If I'm not visiting with my co-workers, I'm reading. Or writing. Or even just sitting, being. I love to sit and think. To contemplate my depths, who it is I am, and what it is I need in this life. What I have to offer.



It turns out that, in finding the outdoors, I've begun finding me. And it's proving to be a significant experience.

23 comments:

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Great Scotts! You have my dream job. Being outside and smelling! :D

Seriously, you scored big with that job.
~ Wendy

Heather Sunseri said...

That's the most incredible job I've heard of in a very, long time. That's amazing. I want to do that.

Linda said...

Fascinating! That sounds like a great job!

Jessica R. Patch said...

How cool! Paid to sit around and sniff. Love it! What's the worst thing you've smelled so far?

Janna Qualman said...

Wendy, I wish you lived here and you could join me!

It's a pretty sweet set-up, Heather. :)

Linda - It's turned out to be awesome!

Jessica, thanks for visiting! Yes, it's a very good deal, and it's a job I'm so proud to be a part of. Hmm. So far the worst (for my nose, anyway) have been animal smells. Whether it's poo or death, it's pretty bad.

Stephen Parrish said...

It turns out that, in finding the outdoors, I've begun finding me.

Brilliant and beautiful.

April said...

Wow, how cool is that? That is perfect for a character in a book. Not one of mine, at the moment, but I just mean it's so unusual. I never knew something like that existed! Though I don't envy you having to sit outside in the rain and cold, I do envy you getting to sit outside in beautiful, spring and summer weather! Enjoy! I'm glad you're learning to appreciate the outdoors!

Christine Fonseca said...

very cool! Now that it is summer, I spend my writing time outside in a gazebo by the pool. Heaven! And yes...there is a certain type of peace outside, there really is.

Enjoy the uber-cool job!!!

Melissa Sarno said...

Where do I get a job like this? What happens if/when you smell something funky?

GigglesandGuns said...

Outside is truly the most inspiring place -- at least for me. Gad you're learning to enjoy.

Liza said...

I'm so glad you have found this job that has brought you out. There is so much to see, so much that inspires.

Janna Qualman said...

Stephen, thank you so much.

April, thanks! Btw, I tried to visit your blog this week, and had trouble commenting. Best with your queries!

That does sound like heaven, Christine. :)

Melissa, if you come to MO, maybe I can get you on. ;)

G&G - It is!

Thanks, Liza. :)

Terri Tiffany said...

I think it sounds wonderful!

graceunderpressure said...

That reminds me, I'm going camping soon! But no one is going to pay me, so YAY You! I could get paid to smell stuff.. we lived in England where I bought large bags of herbs like basil and oregano, then opened the cupboard door EVERY time I walked by so I could smell them. When we returned to Canada, we were driving and I thought I smelled skunk, so I opened my window all the way to smell it! (no skunks for 5 years does weird things to your brain, srsly).
Smell on, my sister!~

Sarah Allen said...

I'm totally with you on not being an outdoorsy girl, but I've wanted to become one, or more than I am now, and you've given me hope :) I so admire your stamina, and also the fact that you're all smart and sciency as well as being creative and a writer :)

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

Duane Scott said...

Okay, I think I need more details about this job. :)

ninabadzin.com said...

If you don't use "odor monitor" as a job for a character in a short story then you're crazy ;)

Lynn said...

An odor monitor? I've never heard of such a job. How interesting! I'm glad you have discovered the joys of the outdoors despite the bugs!

Jessica Nelson said...

What a cool job! I love just sitting outside and taking in everything. It's wonderful!

Janna Qualman said...

Terri - It is! I really feel so.

GUP - Ooh, I follow you with the spices. I'm that way with coffee!

Thanks, Sarah! You can do it, too. :)

Duane - It's perfect, dude!

Nina - It's in the back of my mind, for sure!

Lynn - The bugs are the biggest drawback. Some are okay, but I'm still terrified of spiders. And I've had lots of mosquito bites!

Thanks, Jessica! :)

the domestic fringe said...

How in the world did you land that job? It sounds so funny. It's probably funny to me because I cannot smell. Good thing you can. I'm glad you're enjoying the outdoors and your job. Sounds fabulous for you! I'm so glad you found it.
-FringeGirl

Capri K said...

I'm so glad you like your job!

Being an odor monitor could be the end of me if I had to smell bad things all the time!

Written Not With Ink said...

Add me to the list of those who've never heard of such a job! How unusual. What in the world was the interview process like? Did they put a selection of scented things in front of you, and you had to distinguish between them? I am known in my family as the Bionic Nose, b/c I'm so sensitive to smells and can smell things before anyone else does (gas, ladybugs, rain, etc. [me and my coonhound get along just swell]). I've even been told I should hire myself out for a "smelling job." And honestly, I never imagined there was such a thing!

I'm so happy to hear your report that all is going well, and that your job has begun to help you find yourself. :)

Barb