The nose knows

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I’ve been thinking it for several years and now I think it’s time to say it. “It” being what I thought after taking a family friend to the movies today, where we watched a commercial prior to the beginning of what turned out to be five previews for other upcoming flicks. Before the movie even started.
That will be my next post: Why is it necessary to have five to seven previews (and now, a few commercials) which take up from 15-25 minutes and waste my time? Am I the only person who doesn’t mind showing up “late” these days, knowing that by the time I park the car, buy a ticket, get some popcorn and a soda, and feel my way to a seat in the darkened theatre, the main feature still will not have begun playing?
My digression is leftover from the commercial that played today, a commercial that helped combine not a few years of annoyance and downright frustration together, so that I finally have to speak up and say something. And this is it:
Does anyone even have body odor anymore? How would we know if they did? Is there a single cook left in a kitchen anywhere in this country who doesn’t mind the smell of garlic? Or how about the fragrance of wet dog, old tennis shoes and musty books? My personal favorite scent is coffee a la fried bacon and eggs, but who knows what that smells like these days.
And do you know why? It’s because someone—no, everyone—has one of those irritating deodorizers plugged into the outlet in their kitchen, and their bathroom, and their living room. Along with every other room in the house.
In the Febreze commercial that played today, some really neat things were taking place in the background, which the characters in the foreground were oblivious to. That’s because their attention was caught and held by what is apparently the newest plug-in deodorizer on the market: it captivated them in such a way that the audience was led to believe the characters were experiencing some kind of out-of-body (or a really good drug) experience. Not that they were simply so overwhelmed by a plug-in deodorizer that they couldn’t control themselves.
If I had been in the room where the plug-in thingy was, I wouldn’t be able to control myself, either. That’s because I’m a member of the population that has allergies to such chemicals. I’ve had them since 1988, and just when I think there couldn’t possibly be another product on the market to make my suffering any worse, along comes those stupid plug-ins, designed to hide, mask and cover up every natural odor known to man.
Personally, I’ll take the smell of sweat, rotten broccoli or even dirty diapers any day—because these things are not chemicals that cause illness, and those odors don’t excite my olfactory senses, making my nose run, causing me to cough, or develop phlegm that lasts for hours, if not days. And then, if I don’t take enough medicine (Mind you, that’s at least three: an antihistamine, a decongestant and a nasal spray.), I can end up with a sinus infection that has knocked me on my derriere and, in the past, made me a captive to corporate sick days.
As someone with allergies, I don’t go near the chemical aisle in the supermarket, but if I must, I hold my breath and make a mad dash for whatever item I need, and then just as quickly run out again. By the time I take my next breath, I feel like I might just pass out—which is why I save the chemical aisle for another family member. (Or skip it completely and use vinegar for my household cleaning.)
As someone with allergies, I have had to force myself to ask friends and family not to wear cologne, aftershave, perfume or scented hair products. And at my last job, a fellow coworker stripped her personal hygiene cabinet of everything she thought could be the culprit, but I still continued to sneeze around her. Finally, while sitting in a staff meeting one day, I realized what it was: her clothing! She was using a detergent known for its strong-arm scent. (Truth be told, I actually miss wearing perfume, and I’ve had to use fragrance-free everything for the last two decades.)
Once in a blue moon, I have found a scented product I can use. This has happened maybe 10 times, tops. But when it happens, it’s usually because the product is natural—not man-made. Even then, I’m very cautious, because for some reason, the natural floral fragrances can cause an allergic reaction, too.
But I cannot imagine that any company in the near future is going to create a deodorizer thingy that is unscented, or which doesn’t send me into a coughing attack. So until they do, I can only appeal to everyone who uses the things: When was the last time you actually got a whiff of your beloved’s underarm and was it really that bad? Or was the fragrance wafting from the electric candle so powerful, you wouldn’t know?
Tell me, is it too much to ask to be able to smell burnt cookies and Fido’s wet fur, instead?

1 Comment

veronica nestor

veronica nestor · April 8, 2011 at 9:02 AM


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