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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Wordy Wednesday – the sense of smell

“A floor plan? You don’t know anything about architecture do you?”

“What I know about architecture could be written on the back of a postage stamp.”

“So why to we have a picture of a floor plan then?”

“Just think of it as a map, put you in the picture as we go from A to B, so you can get your bearings.”

“Fair enough. We start at A?”

“The sitting room, but we never really use it. It’s just an extra piece of space like a corridor.”
“Why am I interested in this?”
“Because he can’t go in there.”
“Why not?”
“Because it smells.”
“Dare I ask what it smells of?”
“We don’t know. We can’t smell it. I know! Maybe we should start in E, the half bathroom.”
“He can’t go in there because it smells?”
“Spot on.”
“Bathrooms often smell.”
“This is before it’s even been used, first thing in the morning.”
“Maybe you need a cleaner?”
“It’s the trash can that’s in there too.”
“Maybe you should empty it?”
“I empty it every day and wash it once a week.”
“Can you smell it?”
“No. However it doesn’t really matter because he can’t get into the smelly bathroom because you have to go through the smelly utility room first.”
“Your utility room smells too?”
“Yes. That’s where I put the cats’ bowls of food.”
“Ah that can be stinky.”
“It’s dried and it’s usually empty first thing in the morning.”
“Sounds like he’s safer in the kitchen.”
“No can’t go in there, or rather……he can run through it very fast.”
“Your kitchen smells?”
“Sometimes I forget to turn the dishwasher on at night, or it’s not full enough to turn on. Inevitably I’ll have to open the fridge at some point, which means all those mixed stinks will roll out in a cool, all enveloping wave.”
“Hmm you make it sound so……unattractive.”
“Do you think he has an over developed sense of smell or something?”
Something like that. I don’t know if he has more sensors or whether the sensors are calibrated too high?”
“It’s hard to imagine, but it sounds all too real.”
“At least he can tell us about them now.”
“True. So it’s only the little one.”
“Yup. Tell you what, I’ll give you a little ‘for instance.’”
“Love em. The taste, the smell, their appearance, everything about them spells summer.”
“What about if they’ve been in the fridge overnight.”
“How do you mean?”
“Have you ever opened the fridge door, wondered what is that terrible smell, discovered the strawberries and commanded you nose to re-adjust itself so that you can smell the lovely strawberry smell instead of the stench?”
“Er….no……I can honestly say that you’re completely on your own on that one.”
“Ah well, worth a try. How about this one? I put some all powerful perfume on the skin under your nose, above your lip.”
“Which perfume?”
“Eau d’Anchovy.”
“Yuck, are you kidding me?”
“Nope, try it! See how you function, whether you can concentrate, whether it’s possible to eat or drink, if you can enjoy any of the things that you usually enjoy when you can’t get rid of that all pervasive stink.”
“So……if I ever come visit, I’ll bring my own peg.”
“Free to all comers!”
“Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I may just need to go take another shower now. See you next week.”

By the by, "Amanda Baggs" made a superb video about how some people's sensory systems differ. You may well have seen it before but I think it's due for another airing.

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