I am on day four of a cold that has left my nose without function (other than to take up room between my eyes and lips on my face. And hold up my glasses). I can't breathe at all, so I only sleep for a couple of hours at a time--which makes it pretty hard to beat the cold, since I can't sleep it off. Last night I put some vicks under my nose in an attempt to 1) soothe the redness and 2) open up some sort of small air passage. I don't think that it helped. And in one way it actually hurt. Because once I put it on I realized that I couldn't smell its menthol loveliness. Not at all. I could feel the tingle, but I couldn't smell it. And then I realized that I actually haven't been able to smell anything all week. And then I started to worry that I was going to end up like Trusty the dog from Lady and the Tramp, dreaming about the days when I used to be able to track animals while out hunting with my master.
Or something like that.
But I did, at three o'clock in the morning, sleep and oxygen deprived, begin to think about my favorite things to smell, and how much I'd miss them if I never could smell them again.
Here is my list:
2) Playdough. I make Gus play Playdough with me all the time so that I can get that smell on my hands. This usually entails me making very detailed houses and Gus destroying them with tornadoes. Sometimes we play Food Network, which I like better because he does his Emeril impression and I get to be Rachael Ray.
3) Vanilla Amber Musk. This is my favorite thing to wear. Because it smells intoxicating. From Escentials, the shop on Hawthorne. (http://www.escential.net) And it is only $7.00 per 1/4 oz. And it stays good almost forever because their products are mostly vegetable oil based. (This is too heavy, I find, for most of the year in Texas, so I wear it a lot less often here.)
4) A can of freshly opened racquetballs. Reminds me of my childhood. And Bruce. And who doesn't like to be reminded of Bruce?
5) Baking brownies. Mmmm. Warm chocolate.
6) Rosemary. Which is also my favorite herb. For those of you who are taking note.
7) Mr. Sketch markers. But not grape. Artificial grape scent/flavor is disgusting.
8) Morning-after bar. I know it is foul, but I love waking up the morning after having spent a long evening in a bar (you know, a real bar where people actually can smoke inside?) and smelling the aroma of my own transgressions. (Which usually aren't all that transgressive.) Unlike regret, you can wash this smell off of you, which is part of the allure.
9) Coffee. This is, perhaps, the greatest single olfactory joy of all. Freshly roasted, freshly ground coffee. Walking into Stumptown (oh, Stumpdawg!) on a weekend morning and the smell is so pervasive that it sticks to you for the rest of the day. Part of my being-home ritual is that I always go to Stumptown on my last day in town and buy coffee to bring back to Texas with me. It is partially because I hate drinking anything else. And it is partially because I feel less far away when, on the other end of the journey, I open my bags and they are filled with that smell. It's like, for a moment, I get to cheat my senses.
My best scent memory is of some lipgloss I had as a kid. It was orange flavored and colored and it came in a plastic orange slice that was attached to some string for wearing around the neck. I remember keeping the orange slice long after the gloss was gone because I could still open it and smell the smell of it. I can't describe its actual bouquet, but it was something beyond fake orange---something warm, almost baked. It was delightful. I'd kill to find something that smelled like that again . . .