I lost my sense of smell a couple of months ago, which I thought was symptomatic of a larger issue, but it came back – without warning – this morning. It’s quite handy for milk, socks, toast, and knowing which bathroom cubicle to avoid, so I’m pleased it’s finally returned.
However it has brought to my attention that most of the smells in this world are negative ones, and not only that, but the nice smells – deodorants, perfumes, toothpaste, mouthwash – are invariably created in order to conceal the fact that (in the morning, at least) we really don’t smell that good.
When I go to work it’s pollution, poor drainage and pigeon shit, and maybe – if the wind is just right – I drive past a bakery and catch a whiff of freshly-baked bread… not that I really notice it over the stench of the overflowing bins that the council have yet to collect.
The office is no better, especially on warm days. Every sweaty odour is trapped. As good a concept as it is, recycled air is actually just a nice way of saying that if Fred farts at his desk in the morning, I will probably smell it a few hours later; along with Jerry’s morning workout, Laura’s broccoli breakfast, and that cheese in the fridge that nobody seems to want.
My coat smells of smoke – not because I do, but because Steven hangs his coat next to mine and he does. Like the proverbial chimney. The smell then migrates to me. In an attempt to mask his aroma, he chews strawberry flavoured gum, which doesn’t work, because that’s like jumping into the Pacific and taking a towel.
It’s nice to get out of the office at the end of the day to breathe some fresh, clean air… only, the overriding smell upon exiting the building is the homeless guy across the road who seems to believe that because he doesn’t have a fixed address, it is acceptable not to have had a wash since 2006, despite the fact that there is a perfectly serviceable (and mildly lemon-scented) fountain nearby.
So it’s back home past the pollution, poor drainage, and pigeon shit, in a car that – because it has been sitting in the car park for ten hours – now smells like my office, only this time the air being recycled is my own. Fortunately, I have a Magic Tree hanging from my rear view mirror to combat this… except, it’s coconut, which seems odd as coconuts are not particularly renowned for having a strong smell. I could fill my car with actual coconuts and I would still smell that homeless guy across the street.
But now I’m home, and… either:
I forgot to flush this morning
the dog forgot he was house-trained, or
I left the gas on by mistake.
As disgusting as options 1 and 2 are, only option 3 has the potential to kill me so, careful not to switch on any lights, I tiptoe to the kitchen… and find the lovely bunch of flowers on the worktop for which I have not yet found a vase. As sweet-smelling as they are (carnations, daffodils, and roses), their scent is completely masked by:
4. The power has short-circuited, and the food in my fridge has spoiled.