The scent of a lilac bush gently wafting on the air as it tickles your nose hairs. The smell of the dawn, dew wrestling with the sleepy flower petals. The sun still at its nadir as gentle beams of light gently caress your face. I’m told that coffee first thing in the morning is a motivating aroma, a positive one. These are sensations that are pleasant and thought-provoking. Poems are created with these gentle nudges in mind. They do not assault; they caress and comfort.
And then there is the delivery person who has been marinating in a toxic substance that you can smell ninety seconds before he rounds the corner. The miasma he has inflicted on you lasts for 20 minutes after he leaves. The woman who believes that she must reapply her perfume every hour on the hour and now walks around with a haze surrounding her body. Plant leaves curl up in horror as she walks by. She makes an excellent insect repellent as mosquitoes tend to fly desperately in the opposite direction to escape the onslaught. I’m not exaggerating . . . much.
Our world stinks.
Many years ago, I needed some new hand cream. I decided to go to a high-end store and get some good stuff. Boy, did I get an eye-opener. I had gone to a rather large shopping mall. I found the store I was looking for and I was 3 feet inside the store when a very bright and lovely young lady came and asked me if I would like some assistance. I told her what I was looking for and we moved further into the store. About 10 feet from the entrance my eyes started to water and I found it difficult to breathe. I immediately understood what was happening. I apologized and made a dash for the entrance, I had to get out! The further into the store I had gotten, all the scents of the individual products seemed to coalesce to form this nauseous, toxic haze in front of my nostrils. Individually they were probably lovely scents but all together it was like being hit with a sledgehammer. I thought leaving the store would be enough. It was not. My sense of smell was heightened now and I could smell everything! I could smell food, body odour, clothing, cleansers they used on the floor. It was a sensory overload. I raced to get outside of the building and the fresh air. Ha ha ha! Outside I could smell the asphalt, gasoline, cars, smoke… You see my problem. Fortunately, within a few minutes the heightened sense of smell diminished somewhat and it was just the usual stinky world we live in. I have not been back to that store or that mall in years. I am now very careful what stores I walk into.
Everywhere you go you’ll see signs that say thank you for not wearing any perfume or we are a scent free building. I appreciate that. Most of my friends don’t wear perfume or if they do it is incredibly mild. I appreciate that. I also appreciate that we have indoor plumbing. There was a time when human waste was simply dumped in the gutter. Now we seem to allow human waste to go into politics. Oh, I’m so sorry I shouldn’t have said that out loud.
We don’t have to wear perfume to have aromas around us. Hand lotions, shampoo, make up, deodorant, dryer sheets, laundry soap… the list is endless. We stink. It’s as simple as that. Some stink a little more pleasantly than others. There is so much scent in everything we see, do, touch, that we can’t get away from it. It’s almost as if we shouldn’t be asking “how are you feeling today?” It might be more appropriate to ask: “how are you smelling today?” And that is my thought for the moment or perhaps it is my olfactory appetizer!