As I drove back to town I could smell something burning. It wasn’t a big, flaming kind of burn, but rather, a “you-spilled-something-on-the-stove” kind of smell.

I sniffed, checked the temperature gauge in the car, and kept going. No alarm bells were clanging, other than my nose. It looked like everything was normal. I wasn’t about to burst into flame, which I have to admit, had crossed my mind. I’ve seen entirely too many movies!

I chalked it up to another of my odd olfactory hallucinations. For a while I was smelling cigarette smoke every night. “Do you smell cigarettes?” I’d ask my husband, as we were sitting in our living room watching television.

“Nope,” he’d reply.

“Hmm,” I’d answer.

I’d just about convinced myself that I had some kind of neurological thing going on. I’d been online, Googling olfactory hallucinations and learned that they do in fact exist, and are related to something not quite right in the brain. It’s a good thing I wasn’t a medical student, because I’m certain, I’d be one who came down with every malady I studied!

I guess you could say I’m suggestible.

A couple of days later, I smelled the same burning odor as I left the pasture. This time, I told my husband. We had a road trip planned, and I sure didn’t want to get stuck in some small town in Kansas with a broken car.

So Rick took the car to the Saturn dealer and asked them to take a look. He’d barely settled himself in the waiting room, hadn’t even finished his complimentary doughnut, when the workman appeared.

“You’re finished?” my husband questioned.


“What was it?”

This is when it gets interesting.

The repair guy hemmed and hawed. He looked at his work boots. He didn’t make eye contact. Finally he said, “It looked like a big old chunk of cow poop got lodged in the exhaust pipe.”

My husband smiled. “That would be horse poop.”

The repairman gave him a “whatever” shrug. “Well, it’s out now. You’re good to go.”

I don’t intentionally drive through horse manure, but what can I say – around horses, poop happens. I guess it gets flung into the exhaust pipe quite easily. It’s not really such a bad smell. I’ve smelled worse, that’s for sure.

The old “manure in the exhaust pipe” isn’t something you read about in the horse books. But I should have known. There’s been a bumper sticker, and saying around for years that says, “*&%# Happens!” Now I really get what it means.

Oh, and those other olfactory hallucinations I was having. The ones about cigarette smoke. It turns out my neighbor was sitting on her patio every night having a cigarette. What I thought was a hallucination, was in fact, my incredibly sensitive sense of smell.

You can bet I let my husband know that I had the better olfactory sense!

In turn, he requested that I stop looking up bizarre maladies online.