Monday, September 20, 2010


Some years ago Jerry and I were driving down the mountain from visiting Idyllwild. It was a lovely spring day and instead of using our air conditioner, we had the car windows down. At one point I smelled tobacco. It was such an odd place to be smelling tobacco, and since neither of us smoked -- and since obviously it wasn't tobacco growing county -- I mentioned it to Jerry. He knows I have good smelling powers but this time he laughed at me and made a smart remark about my sensitive smeller going haywire.

But a few miles on down the road we caught up with a motorcyclist who was heading downhill. He was smoking a pipe as he rode.

I still have a super-good sense of smell. Perhaps it is really just normal but maybe I think it's better than ordinary because Jerry can't smell anything. Not a rose, not perfume, not a steak cooking on a Bar-B-Que, and not dog poop on a shoe.

When I developed the taste problem back in 2006, the first thing the doctor asked me was if I had also lost my sense of smell. "Not a bit of it," I told him. "I can smell a cup of freshly brewed coffee and it is the best smell in the world. But when I taste it it tastes so bad I have to spit it out." The doc said to me that this was both bad and good. Bad that I certainly was missing out on one of life's good tastes, but good that my smelling wasn't affected, because if it were, the first thing he would look for was a brain tumor.

I've always had a good smeller. In 1959 I moved to a new housing tract in Orange county that had been built in a field previously zoned for light industry. About a quarter of a mile east of this new developement there was some kind of a factory that processed and canned hot peppers. When the wind was blowing the right direction, the smell of those hot peppers made my mouth water. I mean literally. I couldn't help salivating! It was an awful experience to go through. The smell was wonderful (as I really did like the hot peppers) but I certainly didn't like drooling 24/7. It only happened a couple of times a year, so during the five years we lived there it wasn't unbearable, but it wasn't any fun, either.

In the apartment where we are now living we are anywhere from 3 to 10 miles from a bunch of dairy farms. When there is moisture in the air -- usually in the winters when there is a gloomy foggy day -- I can smell the dairies. It is not a good smell, period. But one gets used to it. Jerry has never smelled them.

It's a shame that smelling good food smells doesn't give me the satisfaction that eating what makes that smell does. But at least I can smell my night-blooming jasmine when it blooms, I can smell the wonderful pikaki moisture lotion I slather on my body ....and best of all, if I stop running around long enough, I can still smell the roses.

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