My girls say that everyone has a house smell. A smell that stays with you even when you’re away from home. Usually it’s some combination of laundry detergent, grooming products, and other scents from regular happenings inside a home. It’s also not uncommon to smell other people’s house smell but not recognize your own. I know I can’t describe how I smell except to say that it’s not laundry detergent. Whoever is on my receiving end, please let me smell like a glorious combination of homemade foods and bath products and not the aroma of animal excrement or cleaning solutions.
Having a smell of the non-digestive variety isn’t bad. I’m speaking generally because, of course, there are always exceptions like those people drowning in strong perfumes. The ones who don’t know they reek to everyone around them. Still, most people feel uneasy hearing that they have a smell because it brings up insecurities. Whenever my kids tell their grandmother she has a smell she envisions having an unpleasant odor from things like moth balls, vintage polyester, and anything else equated to old age. She smells like none of those things.
The other day I was thinking, hypothetically, which of my five sense could I live without? (Side note: I was also hypothetically blocking out my husband commenting sarcastically, wondering how I come up with these questions.) I narrowed the senses down to taste and smell. Then I settled on taste as the one to lose. I would miss my sense of smell. Smell is as much a component of our memories as the events we recall in our mind. Every time I smell Wrigley’s gum I remember my late grandfather. And one of the first things I did when I found my diary from 1984 was open it and inhale the pages. The smell transported me to my childhood. Smell isn’t just about the here and now. It’s a link to our past.