Thursday, February 26, 2015

Writing Scents

 http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/naming-scents-uneducated-nose
http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/naming-scents-uneducated-nose

The image above links to an interesting article by Alistair Gee in the New Yorker.  A friend posted this to his FB account, and it caught my attention immediately!  I love this article--please take a moment now to read it.

I thought, I could probably write a blog post about smells--then realized I already had in my FB status.  I have a very strong sense of smell, and my spouse does not. He once asked if it was good or bad for me to have that, and I realized it's probably good for survival and health (I can easily tell if food is "off"), but not particularly pleasant. Usually when I notice a smell he does not, it's something foul.  Lucky guy--he doesn't ever smell skunk--wish I could say the same!

BUT, I've also had the joy of returning to the East Coast to visit a friend, after living in CA for over 10 years. The smell of the Atlantic was different than the Pacific, and evoked "home" for me. Lacking the "smell lexicon" from the article, I couldn't describe the difference, but it was very clear to me. 

I had similar experiences returning to Korea after leaving at age 6. Smells I had not encountered for almost 2 decades smelled of childhood to me.  I blogged a while back about the persimmon taste memory.  The smells were more elusive during my trip.  I would walk down a block, and a smell that was totally familiar would sneak up on me, but attempts to trace it (is it that plant?  Did we pass a restaurant?) were usually fruitless.  Some melange of the chemical, household cleaners, maybe b.o., no doubt the difference in diet all played a part.  (OK, fire off the kimchee jokes now!)

6 comments:

  1. In our marriage it is the other way around. Craig is the "sensitive" one. He hates perfume and air fresherner. He didn't like the smell of roasted garlic, so I don't make it. When I cook in the RV I have to turn on every vent fan (3) in the rig. I've gotten used to it, but sometimes think he is picky.

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  2. I miss the smell of Korea too- it's a part of my childhood that left a deep sense of void and aching in my heart. Good to connect with another Korean blogger. Hope you check out my blog too. www.mommy-diary.com

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  3. The joy I feel knowing you're still here. The smell is reminiscent of times passed.

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  4. Glad to see you too, Patois! Midlife crisis aside, I'm working on making more time for me this year.

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