Today I am walking around the house slightly overwhelmed by the plethora of intermixed smells. I decided it would be advantageous to burn an incense stick stolen from my daughter’s room, in the hallway downstairs. This downstairs floor (which also contains a bathroom) is currently entirely owned and operated by 3 teenagers. So to mitigate the Eau de Parfum of adolescence, the incense is burning. You know, to intermingle with the smell of arse, armpits, and feet.
I’m also roasting pork belly. Have you smelled that lately? It’s not subtle.
My family thinks I have an overactive ‘sense’ of smell.
Me: ‘What is that smell?’
All family members: “literally nothing”
Me: “No, I can smell something, it smells like vinegar. Or like wet dog. Is something burning? Seriously? Is it feet?
All family members: “literally nothing”.
But despite the mocking on their part I’m pretty damn good. I can detect the absence of a shower on a teenage boy within a 10 kilometer range. I can also tell if they have showered, but not been bothered to wash their hair. (What is UP with that) I can accurately tell someone has been smoking even if ‘their ‘friend’ did it 3 Tuesdays ago. Oh, and that smell when you pick them up from school, and you are in the car with the windows up? It’s called the ‘school smell’ and it’s on every.single.kid.
Although I was overly critical of house aromas as a child, this skill has really been honed in my latter years as a parent. It is both a useful and repulsive tool: For example, a simple sniff test is helpful when I am wading knee deep in clothing that has been on the floor of the kid’s rooms for days and I want to know what is still clean: ‘Oh dear lord baby Jesus NOT this’.
If you live with me, there’s a good chance I’ll sniff you. I’m not even sorry.
Ok, so I’m a little bit creepy. And overly space invasive.
Back in the baby-raising days I found another mum who was a ‘sensitive smeller’. She was often worried her house smelled (it didn’t) I was just happy to have somewhere to hang out with my small children, I couldn’t have cared less. And also, considering there were like 3 of us with at least 2 babies or toddlers in tow, it was fairly inevitable that whatever smell she was smelling was about to be overpowered by baby shit and bad canned food.
– Side note, I hereby profusely apologise to my children for the Watties Canned Lamb’s Fry and Bacon baby food phase. Let’s just pretend it was paleo and we were WAY ahead of the game.
I also experience extreme nostalgia over smells, although apparently I’m not special in that regard, as smell is said to be one of the most powerful senses, and is directly connected to the hippocampus, which is where we store memory (Thank God I finally got to use something I learned at Uni).
But isn’t it weird how you can be fully pulled back in time just by a whiff of something?
Grapefruit and brown sugar: 1989
Fudge hair wax: 1995
Gas heaters: 1996
Anything with clary sage oil: 2010
And all the memories of time spent with grandparents, or that time you were on T.V or ditching highschool, or that guy and his mini, come flooding back.
Which is all very nice etc etc, but right now, my house smells like a Hari Krishna’s bachelor pad crossed with an American mid-western BBQ.
Oh, and I can still smell feet.