Friday, May 9, 2008
"I've never thought of smell as something to do"
Yesterday was an embarrassment of riches. I received four packages of fragrance in the post. I've been keeping all these samples in a beat up old cardboard box. This seemed an awful way to store these precious jewels, so today, when I was out, I purchased a beautiful cloth covered box in a rich floral burgundy, with bows and all.
Then I transferred all my samples into it. I started counting and now I have over fifty! I have gotten stuck on a few scents and they generally take me a week to assess (unless I need to scrub them off immediately) so I figure I've got enough to last me a long time. But no, I want more.
So, who uttered the sentence, "I've never thought of scent as something to do"? My partner, Dick Fischbeck (who has just patented a new building method - see Randome Shelter over in the link section). He hasn't paid much heed to my new hobby, for I'm always picking up new hobbies, getting wildly interested, and then letting them go. That said, yesterday's mail was much too much to ignore, and so, he asked to smell something.
I was pulling the last vial out of the last box and it was Herme's Jardin sur le Nil. He sniffed and said "citrus". His face lit up. And then, surprisingly, he said "put some on me". So, I did. Later in the evening, he asked if he could bring some samples to school with him, to share with the teachers on their break: "Pick out some that are famous" were his words. I don't have many of those, so I'm putting it off.
This afternoon, when Dick came home from work, I showed him the pretty box that the fragrance samples now reside in. He asked me to retrieve the Hermes so he could smell it again. I was surprised.
A few minutes later, he said, "The whole world disappears when I smell this." I was shocked. Dick is not the type of man one would ever imagine would like perfume. He wears flip-flops to work as soon as it is reasonably warm enough to do so. Am I stereotyping my partner? Yep.
I noticed he kept sniffing his hand and so I asked him, "Dick, have you ever worn cologne?" He hasn't since I"ve known him, but who knows? The answer was no. "But I'd wear this", he said.
Really, I was just fascinated, so I asked him what he was feeling when he smelled it. The answer? "It makes me feel safe. I can always go there." Really??!! "Peace. Contentment."
This would make a really fantastic advert, wouldn't it? Though Dick would have to get a hair stylist, for his long gray ponytail really needs some work. Sorry, honey.
But wait: there more! It's many hours later and he's still talking about it. "Wow. Smell that! It's like a drug. It a high. It's a momentary high!"
I think we've got a new perfume addict on our hands.
Note on photograph and addendum: I asked Dick to choose the visuals for this post, for it is about his experience, not mine. He asked for a globular cluster.* I asked why and he started to really talk about this scent experience in depth. I wanted to know why he picked this photograph. Does this smell elicit this image? No. "Smell goes in all directions and when it hits your brain it does the same thing. Same as a globular cluster. (Well, I don't think the globular cluster hits your brain, but okay. . .) From my wrist, it goes out in all directions - it's omni-directional. Other smells haven't had this effect on me." But why this picture? "It's my image of smell." Like this scent? "No. Smell is general. This smell is specific." So, it's not about this particular smell. "It's about my becoming aware of the olfactory. I've never paid attention to it in my life." But wait, he starts listing smells: "Skunk. Concrete. Rusty steel. Sewage. Mold in the cellar. Pine forest. Garlic. Diesel fumes. Gasoline. Some of the kids have wicked BO. They shit in their pants. Bern Porter." He paused. "My nose has been very valuable to me. It's helped me a lot. I do have a very healthy smell life, but this is another dimension. This is play. Write that down. This is my first play scent." Dick ended this conversation with, "You know, I love the smell of chocolate, but if you put chocolate on my hand it would be somewhat mundane", and in one fell swoop dismissed many a gourmand fragrance.
*This stellar swarm is M80 (NGC 6093), one of the densest of the 147 known globular star clusters in the Milky Way galaxy. Located about 28,000 light-years from Earth, M80 contains hundreds of thousands of stars, all held together by their mutual gravitational attraction. Globular clusters are particularly useful for studying stellar evolution, since all of the stars in the cluster have the same age (about 15 billion years), but cover a range of stellar masses.
Every star visible in this image is either more highly evolved than, or in a few rare cases more massive than, our own Sun. Especially obvious are the bright red giants, which are stars similar to the Sun in mass that are nearing the ends of their lives.
Information above from here.