They Say the Sense of Smell is the Last to Leave Us


So, I’m walking along the long, shiny, wide corridors of commerce – the local shopping mall – behind a couple probably about the same age as me. Both the same height, both ostensibly brunet and probably husband and wife, rather than siblings.

I noticed a faint whiff of hairspray from them, but nothing else. No smell to say that here walks a human being. Just nothing at all. Except that one gagging breath of hairspray.

But that’s how we’re all becoming, no? Overly scented sprays and potions for the body are giving way to unscented ‘natural’ (hah!) or simply odour-free varieties. So that, in the end, having killed all known bodily bacteria dead, dead dead, we can feel safe in the knowledge that nothing of our emotions or physical state is given away to the passing stranger. Or, for that matter, to the intimate lover.

While our houses reek of plug-in air sanitisers in fake floral or laughable ‘fresh ocean’ scents. Kill that smell. We’d be embarrassed should someone realise that we are living, perspiring, eliminating animals. We should be scentless, sterile, safe.

Give me a bloody break.

Meanwhile, back at the home which smells delightfully of dogs and humans, humus and compost, green growing things and fleshly dying things – I have been in conversation with my bike.

The delightful old lady tells me her name, and from that moment on, my body and brain remember how to ride a bike.

We’re going to get along famously, she and I. For she knows my name, now, too.

See top of the page for a clue.

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8 responses to “They Say the Sense of Smell is the Last to Leave Us

  1. Doxology (?)Either way, i disagree slightly.Most humans i have ever passed, smell awful. Even after having bathed in smelly stuff … Like on a bike, the overwhelming sense of smell will take you by surprise, sadly most of what there IS to smell is truly awful …. roads, oils, litter etc.But that’s when you go home, light your favourite incense and have a hot bubble bath 😉

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  2. Are you inside my head????? I just today put jasmine flowers in the bathroom at the school where I work, because the irritating smell of the “air fresheners” were so fake they were messing with my state of mind.Ha ha ha ha! Thats funny!

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  3. Murcielago,My pleasure, my brother in spirit.’Shell – it’s that bloody crow. He sees what you do and then reports to me. The government had better watch out.It’s a pity so few people even remember Nehalennia. She’s in my genes, it seems.Love,Terri

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  4. I swear we’ve been conditioned to dislike each others’ odors by merchandisers who make money off odor-stopping products. My grandparents didn’t have running water in their summer house, and they smelled so good by the end of the day — I mean, GOOD. You knew you were with people.

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  5. Hi Anne,That’s exactly it.The adverts often subtly ( or not so subtley) concentrate onmaking you feel that if you don’t use their product, you’re going to smell bad or get attacked by germs, or lose your job, or die.The ads are actually often hilarious. We’ve become paranoid about smelling anything like human.Love,Terri

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