When I read that the aroma of green apples can control appetite, I laughed. Stuff a green apple up my nose and then serve me a pizza. See if I don’t scarf it down with as much gusto as I would if I didn’t have fruit lodged in my nostrils.
Good or bad, smells can influence us and they can permeate your memories just like your clothes can absorb odors.
When I get a whiff of freshly baked peach cobbler I’m transported to the days when Granny had chicken and dumplins on the table and a cobbler in the oven. Her house filled with family and friends from far and near. A constant roar rising from everyone talking at and over everyone else, reaching a point of chaos if you weren’t used to the rapid fire conversations.
A Norman Rockwell family we weren’t. But we had love and hope and acceptance. The smell of peach cobbler brings me back to all those wonder feelings.
But not all scent associations are positive.
Late one afternoon, Professor X and I went to an early dinner with a certain someone. I climbed in the backseat of Prof X’s two-door car so that this certain someone could ride up front.
Within seconds of us pulling out of the garage, I thought I would have a heat stroke. Being cramped into a black car that’s absorbed the unrelenting mid-August-in-Florida sun is like being stuffed in an oven. Taking pity on my sweat-induced fanning fit, Prof X (bless his heart) turned on the car’s A/C full blast.
What hit me in the face can’t be described by such mambie-pambie words like foul, pungent, or atrocious. I don’t think that a word exists in the English language that would come close to describing a stink worse than a rotting corpse three times over.
Tears trickled from the corners of my eyes as I squinted against the brutal bombardment of this stench. My stomach somersaulted, violently, and made a desperate attempt to claw through my back in order to squirm into the trunk to hide. I didn’t dare open my mouth to speak. I didn’t want that funk imprinted on my tongue or cloyed in my throat.
Prof X was oblivious to the smell and to my plight. So was the certain someone riding with us. The certain someone to whom I now refer to as Pepe le Pew.
The decrepit odor swirled around Pepe like the dust cloud surrounding Charlie Brown’s friend Pigpen.
I realized two crappy truths about two-door cars. The backseat has no windows to roll down or doors to jump out of. I wouldn’t have waited for a stop sign or red light . Road rash was worth the chance to breathe fresh air.
Once we stopped at the restaurant, I might’ve knocked Pepe over in my zeal to get away from him. I say “might have” because I was oxygen deprived from holding my breath for ten miles and I was on the fringe of an out of body experience. Even the eternal being within me wanted to get the heck away from that god-awful smell.
It’s imprinted in my brain. Not only the smell, but the nausea associated with it and the feeling of being trapped. All of it comes rushing back at the mere thought of climbing into the backseat of a car.
Some people can’t smell skunks. I wish I was one of them. Maybe I wouldn’t have been affected by Pepe.
Smell cells renewed every twenty-eight days, so basically you get a new nose every month. That’s good news to me. I needed a new one after that repulsive experience.
Want to ensure mosquitoes stay away from your outdoor bar-b-que? Decorate with smelly socks. Or have a friend with really stinky feet stand in the back corner of the yard.
Researchers have found mosquitoes are four times more attracted to the smell of stinky socks than they are to people. Scientists hope to find a way to cheaply mass-produce the stinky sock smell to help fight malaria by using the scent to lure the mosquitoes to their death.
Stressed? Anxious? Blood pressure too high? Before running to the doctor for a handful of prescription meds try eating more beans. A 2008 study suggests that the stink in farts controls blood pressure. I really would’ve hated to have been a volunteer for that study group.
Had an accident in your new car? You could’ve been drunk on the new car scent, according to one study. Apparently the fumes from the upholstery and carpet can be toxic and cause light-headedness and fainting spells. A Colorado man’s defense team claim the “new car smell” may have caused him to hit a cyclist Vail. I’m not sure how they’ll explain why he left the scene of the accident instead of calling 9-1-1.
Got a stink story? Share your ordeal.
Or, if you have a sweet-smelling memory indulge me with that too.