A special Branching Out guest post by Lisa S.
Protective Services visited the Murray circ desk on Tuesday morning to inform us that during their walkthrough, they had discovered that the map area on the 2nd floor smelled like barf. I decided to take one for the team as I have 3 kids and 2 dogs so always seems to be dealing in body fluids and solids of some sort. Mimi (our caretaker) came up with me and we didn’t notice a smell until we got around halfway through the room. The smell hit us like a wall. No gradual “ease” into it. We knew immediately that there was vomit somewhere. We searched the floor, chairs, tables and took the garbage can apart. Nothing. We were able to tell with our keen sense of smell which zone of the room it was in, but could not see anything.
After a few minutes, a girl approached us and asked what we were looking for, but I could tell she already knew. I said we were looking for the source of vomit smell. She said it was likely related to the travel mug on the shelf behind us that had EXPLODED an hour earlier. We turned to see the wall covered in barf from about the 5’5 mark to the floor. The shelves were covered in chunks, and the poor books that were the innocent bystanders were covered in someone’s sick. Mimi and I went closer to take a look and despite my high school chemistry teacher telling us to never sniff stuff, we sniffed stuff. We immediately looked at each other and dry heaved. Then dry heaved again. Possibly a third and fourth time. We left to get Younas, another custodian, to help Mimi with cleanup. The cleanup required the shelves being removed and sprayed down, as well as a good wiping of the wall. A library staff member took care of the books that got spattered.
I am perplexed as to why the girl did not report the fact that 1) something had exploded and 2) that it happened to be a cup of puke. It’s not every day that you come across a puke projectile (puke-jectile?) in the library so this is one for the history books.
The moral of this story is: Don’t sniff stuff, especially when it looks like barf because it probably is.