You know, they say vodka doesn’t smell like anything, but that’s not true. It’s similar to isopropyl rubbing alcohol. If I open the bottle in a stuffy room, the place takes on a faintly medicinal odor, as if what I was doing belonged in a hospital, like I might turn to the doctor next to me and ask if Nurse Green had given him a scalpel and could I borrow it for awhile.
My mind wanders.
At one point, I sloshed some all over my feet because of that stupid lid that kept opening itself. Two or three ounces wasted. I wanted to cry. Then I realized it was four o’clock in the afternoon, and I hadn’t eaten anything but a banana all day. Scott came in, and I said, “Get me a sandwich and the cheapest bottle of vodka the ABC store will sell you.” He wouldn’t meet my eyes. But he bought it. God love him, he bought it.
“Certified rotgut,” he muttered as he went out the door to protect the children, who wouldn’t come inside.
I just turned the new lid and smiled.
Hello, my name is Jessie Bishop Powell, and I …
Have been cleaning costumes.
When something is sweaty, but you don’t have time to wash it, or when it’s so delicate that you can’t launder or dryclean it, you apply liberal amounts of costume spray. Costume spray is one part vodka to two parts water. And if that doesn’t kill the odor, you can upgrade to straight vodka, also applied with a spray bottle. It would, I presume be easy to get a contact high. But quite hard to snort it. And it is strong enough to kill the germs, but it oxidizes long before it gets put back onto a dancing body.
And you go through a LOT of that shit on tutus. Ballerinas and danseurs look all graceful on the stage, but they sweat like other athletes. And make no mistake, what they’re doing is intensely athletic. All that grace comes at the price of extraordinary physical strain.
When Candace asked if I would be willing to spray the costumes, then said she had to get me the vodka, I assumed she was making a joke about the tedium of the job. When she walked back in with a nearly empty bottle, I knew I had a blog post.
Oh – and those spray bottle lids DO unscrew themselves when you keep picking them up and putting them down again.
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.