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The Smells of My Subjects

Smell is the window to memories. I've always believed this. The smell of a beach-ball, fresh from its packaging, not yet inflated, smells like my childhood. It reminds me of a lot of toys made back then, with this biohazard plastic that has this fresh, clean scent, which is probably toxic as hell, being chiefly an 80s smell. The dentist's distinct smell of tooth polish and latex gloves is a different kind of sterile scent, mixed with mint, mouth wash, the cold steel of the utensils, and bleeding gums. McDonald's fries vs. Burger King's fries are easily distinguishable (if you grew up in sub/urban America). And anyone can tell if you've got a cat or not just by stepping into your home.

I've been keeping a mental log of the smells brought by all of the people who come to my tech support desk. Most people don't give off a smell strong enough for me to pick up, but a surprising amount do.

Usually, the odors strong enough to smell are body stench or some other filth, and perfume. Axe body spray is often something these people bathe in, which makes for a physically uncomfortable interaction, as I gasp for air. Last month, however, I helped someone who brought a waft of Swimming Pool; that chlorine smell that made me think of visiting my aunt's apartment complex in the summer as a kid, as well as all swimming classes in school.

One person smelled the way my dad used to smell: motor oil and sawdust, from constantly fixing up old junker cars, and making stuff in his garage. Made me miss the few days when he'd let me in to watch or help him out.

Today, I helped someone with an incredible aroma. Not too strong. I silently breathed in this elegant cologne deeply, until I got to the end of the smell... a cover-up! At the end of the aroma, I got a distinct whiff of what he is covering up. Urine! Fresh, but not super strong. It smells the way you did as a child when you wet the bed, soaked into the skin from sleeping in the puddle, cold from contact with the winter air, and faintly lingering, as though he only had time to wet-cloth it off, instead of showering.

I usually get people who smell of nothing, or a light, non-descript perfume, or heinous body odor. Sometimes I get close-talkers or mouth-breathers who smell like rotting teeth or halitosis. The rotten teeth smell usually sticks to me all day, too. Ugh!

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
pax_athena
Jan. 22nd, 2015 11:06 pm (UTC)
Huh, interesting. For me, it's mainly spaces. Flats and houses especially. Every one seems to have its special odor. And I love coming back somewhere and getting that first breath of air that I suddenly remember. I can never tell what it is and I stop smelling it within a few minutes, but there is always something of coming home to smelling a certain house again (and back to "home" for the homeless me ...).
diello
Jan. 28th, 2015 07:12 pm (UTC)
Once in a while, I come across a smell that reminds me of my first flat, but I have yet to pinpoint what the smell is, or even remember what it smells like (unless I find that rare reminder). I wish it happened more often. I was so happy in that flat :)
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