They say when you lose one sense, another gets stronger to make up for it. Now comes the obvious joke, that since I have no common sense, I should be able to see a penny lying on the moon, or hear bands playing at Coachella from my house. Ha, ha.
No, really. Your senses contribute so much to who you are, and their strength or weakness can affect your outlook on things, your memories and who you are. An image can burn itself into your brain, as a brush of someone's arm against yours can change your life forever.
The sense of smell is a good one. Sure, more often than not, what you smell is more offensive than enjoyable. I mean, when was the last time you unexpectedly walked into a cloud of floral ambrosia, as opposed to a fertilizer-scented bomb? I guess that makes good smells even better, especially when it's a surprise.
So many scents are tied to memories. Think of the smell, for instance, of Christmas at your house, or a summer day. It could conjure different scent-memories (smellories?) for everybody. As I'm thinking of smells and what memories they're connected to, it's amazing with how much clarity I can recall them, as if it's right in front of me. Something intangible is almost made real.
For example, the smell of a fog machine (like in a haunted house) will always remind me of when I was goth and used to dance in foggy dark nightclubs, usually with my reflection in a mirror like a good goth girl does. Oh, the horror. I wish that one wasn't so acute.
A less embarrassing smell / memory connection is the odor of rain on warm dirt, which reminds me of puddle-stomping after a summer storm when I was a kid. The smell of cool, crisp night air reminds me of when my mother used to pick me up from my grandma's after her midnight shift was over, bundling me up as I was carried, half asleep, to the car. A moldy or mildewy basement will always take me back to Champion Rollarena (sorry, but that place smelled like feet). Soapy water on hot pavement at a car wash will always be my dad washing his car du jour out in the driveway with Van Halen on the radio (as it was for much of the '80s).
People have their identifying odors, too. Cool Water aftershave always reminds me of my first high-school boyfriend. Patchouli oil is my aunt. My dad usually smells like dog treats (since his coat hangs in the treat closet) and Head & Shoulders. My grandpa usually smelled like old cars, a mix of oil and aged leather. Whether it's a perfume or a mark of their profession, people and smells are often intertwined.
Being a lifelong allergy victim, I usually strayed from perfumes and lotions. In recent years, however, I managed to find a perfume both unique in scent and devoid of nose-and-skin-killing allergens. It's a Japanese line of scents, and after my first bottle was bought with the Sephora gift card I got for Christmas, I noticed people sniffing me exponentially more than when I just smelled like Suave body wash. My friend Sarah Y. (Y? To protect her identity, silly) always grabs my wrist for a big whiff whenever I see her out. I must remember to get her a sample bottle so she can enjoy even when my wrists aren't around.
It's also a secret weapon for the opposite sex, as it has lured many a male in, Bugs Bunny-style - floating along visible scent-waves in the air, defying all laws of gravity and physics.
Some other random scents I love: When you walk into the Eastwood Mall and get hit with a cloud of Subway bread baking. Crumbling autumn leaves in the woods. Indoor swimming pools. Hot Italian sausages cooking at the fair. The inside of an empty can of Planters Cheez Balls (which they don't make anymore). The plastic peel of a Fruit Roll Up. Lawnmower exhaust. New clothes. Newborn baby heads. When you walk by someone's house and they're doing laundry.
Spring is the primo time for scents, so get out there and smell away. Create some new smellories. Meanwhile, I'll be working on my line of Pink Puppy Belly scented candles.