Closing the Generation Gap, One Odd Odor at a Time

church camp
A conversation transcript from last evening with my 14-and-a-half-year-old daughter:

Setting: getting into the family SUV on a mild Southern spring evening, directly after a thunderstorm. 

In unison: "What's that smell?"

41 (that's me): "It's camp."

14 (the kid): "What?"

41: "It smells like camp. That mixture of sunscreen, bug spray and wet grass, with a faint whiff of damp wood and mildew."

14: "THAT'S SO WEIRD! I was just thinking it smelled like the church beach retreat!"

41: "Exactly. No matter what year, what country, whether the beach or mountains, a condo, a cabin or a tent ... whenever more than 5 people under the age of 25 gather away from home -- or really any place lacking a woman armed with bleach, hot water and a laundry room replete with a dryer with various settings -- this is the resulting smell."

14: "That's crazy! So your beach retreat smelled just like mine?!!"

41: "Yup."

14: "That doesn't explain why our car smells like camp."

41: "I was just thinking the same thing. Smelling camp on the way to Starbucks sorta ruins the experience."

14: "We have to stop this smell. How do we end this smell? Right now?!!!"

41: "Let's see if we can rustle up a woman with some hot water and bleach."

Per the usual, turns out that woman was me. I was able to isolate the various odors as follows:

Wet grass -- actual wet grass outside (see above: thunderstorm.) 
Sunscreen -- aerosol sunscreen accidentally sprayed independently while in my tennis bag, which was left in my car overnight. Good news is I have a can of tennis balls and various tennis accoutrements which are now completely safe from sunburn. 
Bug spray -- pretty sure that's a remnant from my husband's fishing trip this weekend. I'm just thankful it isn't the smell of dead and rotting fish. #blessed.
Mildew -- tiny leak in my sunroof. Cured with a pinch of aforementioned bleach.
Damp wood -- this one's a mystery. I suspect a popsicle stick or dowel rod from a science project is loose somewhere in my car. And it's apparently wet. 

If anyone needs a ride, y'all let me know. Because while my car now smells like a freshly scoured murder scene, it no longer smells like camp.

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