Tuesday, November 4, 2014

NWC Day 4: Scent Memory

During November, I'm participating in a (mostly) daily writing challenge which has its roots in NaNoWriMo. Today is day the fourth. That's as witty as I get. I've only had one cup of coffee today.


Prompt #4: Smell: How does it affect your day? What do you smell right now?

When I worked outside the home, I think smell was more of a "thing" than it is now. My day would start with the standard ablutions: a shower meant body wash or some kind of homemade hippie soap that smelled great but dried the shit out of my skin. Minty toothpaste, scented lotion or baby oil, perhaps a few sprays of conditioner mixed with water to moisturize my hair, and a shea butter lip balm in something soft like orange or berry. Then outside smells: that chest-compressing feeling that is humidity or the sharp crispness of fall. If it had rained, the car might smell musty. A stop at a Starbucks drive-through would flood the car with the headiness of coffee and a breakfast sandwich. If I splurged, the delicate scent of lemon pound cake would join the party. After zipping into the parking lot at work, more outside air. Then a tight woosh of air as I navigated the revolving doors and walked into an ever-clean lobby that smacked of some kind of cleanser: window cleaner, floor polish, the soap the maintenance staff used to clean the bathroom counters. After getting to the office, the day would break down into scent 'moments': coffee brewing in the break room, the wake of someone's cologne/perfume as they walked by, the gagworthy scent of a coworker's lentil-heavy lunch that stunk up our communal work space. In the afternoon, the hours would be broken into smoke breaks, and, on the way home, the likely smell of Taco Bell as I stopped for dinner. Once home again, I'd encounter the dusty mustiness of a house whose tidiness I often neglected. I would want it to smell like Murphy's Oil Soap and Dawn and probably even strains of vinegar, but I used a long workday as an excuse to push cleaning to the weekend... and then the next week.

Right now, I'm most aware of the occasional scent of baby powder deodorant (either I got it on my shirt or I'm waving my arms around a lot as I write) and the stuffy perfume of a sweater I pulled out of storage when the temperature dropped. I'd rather be enjoying the scent of dinner cooking, a waft of fabric softener from clothes hanging to dry, and lightly scented lavender sheets when I go to bed. Maybe another day.

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