Keep your pandas out of my library

by Kelly Hillock

It’s 10 a.m. and I’m in the 24/7 Study Area, much to my dismay. It’s impossibly too early for brain functions, but I’m here to get some good old-fashioned studying done.

Suddenly, a scent wafts and works its way into my nostrils. It’s that tangy, unmistakable scent of everyone’s favorite panda—Panda Express.

Panda Express? I surreptitiously glance the full 360 degrees around me. There it is. A bright green takeout box clutched in a pair of hands. Chow mein noodles dangling from a black plastic spork. Confirming the source of the smell, I check my iPhone for the time, since no one actually wears watches anymore. Yep, it’s still 10 a.m.

Okay, I’m all for the mid-morning munchies and yeah, the 24/7 section is food-friendly. But the scent of Panda Express is like a kung pao kick to your nose. The grease is probably permeating into my skin right now. It’s practically clouding my vision. It has flooded into my brain and I can’t possibly focus on anything productive when my body is being assaulted by such a violent, deep-fried scent. I don’t even like Panda Express, and before you start hashtagging me with #unpopularopinion, no, I’m not claiming hipster status on Chinese food. Well, maybe. I’m definitely a Pick Up Stix kind of girl.

I can’t take it anymore. What’s a girl to do to get some scentless studying accomplished?

Not Again

A few weeks later, I’m sitting in my women’s studies class when I inhale and my nostrils are once again troubled. I pull that move where you pretend to stretch but really want to check out the cute guy sitting behind you. Instead, I’m shooting daggers at the girl behind me shoveling Panda Express into her face. This isn’t high school, where you would sneak a few chips out of your backpack during class. You don’t get to level up to consuming an entire meal just because you graduated into college. This classroom is not a food court. Get out.

Torture me with unexpected weird food smells and I’ll confess. I’ll admit to anything. I’ll volunteer as tribute.

I’m starting to panic. What are my options here? Am I forced to carry around Febreze? Am I legally allowed to whip a candle out of my purse and keep it lighted next to me? Would it be best to just encase myself in a plastic bubble to avoid all unpleasant smells? Would I be judged for that?

A Similar Offense

I’m enjoying a coffee at the Starbucks in West Commons as I write this very article. The warm scent of coffee deliciously envelops me, when, unexpectedly, my perfectly-crafted sentence is obscenely interrupted by the scent of chicken nuggets. Where did you even get chicken nuggets around here? Are you trying to tell me you walked all the way from McDonalds to West Commons without scarfing the entire bag of your Mickey D’s? Blasphemy.

I mean, I guess it’s chill you want to dig into some nugs right now, but you’re impeding on my olfactory rights. It’s basically included in the First Amendment. Tommy J. and the O.G. Washington fought for a country where people have the right to inhale without breathing in the deep-fried stench of food.

The Resolution

If the cops can shut down parties for noise violation, then I reserve the right to shut down your food consumption for violating my nose. Is that a thing? Sensory overload? Disrupting the scent peace? My nostrils need a zen space.

Take your Panda Express, your chicken nuggets, your gross, greasy fast-food and generally unpleasant smells away from me. You are officially only allowed to consume these foods in designated areas. Probably alongside the smokers, because this sort of thing needs to be quarantined like the plague. Just stay out of the library, you Panda Express eaters. People are trying to focus. You’re worse than the kids who play World of Warcraft on the school computers. My nose cannot handle any more sweet and sour offenses. For the love of all Aztecs, keep your pandas out of my library.