Thursday, May 8, 2008


So recently I got an invite to a PartyLite thing from one of my coworkers. I read through the description and it says something about fragrances and "home accents" (whatever those are... candles, maybe?). She's a really fun person, and I'm sure I'd be able to do all kinds of fun girly bonding things while there, however...

I can't smell.

What is the point of going to a fragrance party if I can't smell the product to begin with? I mean, I could go hang out for the sake of hanging out, but I'm not really into all that girly stuff. Give me an action movie and a group of guys any day.

I can hear you now... "That's nonsense, Sass, everyone can smell."

Newp. Hate to burst your delusioned bubble. I mean, people can go deaf or blind and no one ever thinks it's weird. Tell them you've lost your sense of smell and you get those "yeah, right" looks. Or silence.

It's true, though. It's called anosmia (wiki article here).
The 10,000 different scents which humans usually recognize as 'tastes' are often actually 'flavor', which many people who can smell confuse with taste. This sense of 'flavor' is greatly diminished by a loss of the sense of smell, often causing those with sudden onset anosmia a great deal of concern when all food suddenly loses its flavor. When one can't smell anything, food loses most of its flavor, as when wearing nose plugs or during a cold.

As a person who doesn't ever remember being able to smell, I find that last part kind of funny. I experience absolutely no change in taste when I have a cold (and yes, I *can* taste things). It doesn't affect me. I do realize that I don't taste as much as other people... for instance, I won't taste a subtle herb in foods that others will have a food-gasm over. "Oh my gosh, I love this [insert subtle flavor here] in this pasta." Meanwhile I think to myself... this tastes like spaghetti, what else is in there to taste?

It's kind of sad, but at the same time, I don't know what I'm missing, so I can't really go emo over it. The most I've ever been able to do is identify a change in air quality. I could tell you something changed, but I wouldn't be able to identify it. I also wouldn't be able to tell you where it's coming from. Most times, though, I don't even experience that. The sense is simply missing for me.

As you can imagine, this has a couple of fringe benefits. I can't smell my husband's thirty minute session in the bathroom. I'm unaffected by food left out on the counter to mold, or trash left in the bin too long. In fact a few weeks ago I was able to dig around in the garbage to find out what was causing everyone else in the house to literally gag any time they got within ten feet of the trash can. It was a couple of pieces of rotted chicken. I was able to stick my whole head in the trash bag without effect.

But, that said, this also has some serious drawbacks, even besides the missed food experience. If there was a gas leak in the house, I would never smell it. That goes for any potentially toxic fumes from any source. I also can't smell body odor, which, while good for avoiding the stink of my husband after a mid-summer hike, isn't good for judging the cleanliness of my own self. I often forget to put on deodorant because it's just not something I think about. There's no stink from other friends or coworkers to remind me that hey, I might smell, I should put on some anti-smell stuff so I don't smell like that guy. Also, as mentioned in the previous paragraph, I won't smell it if there's a piece of food stinking up the house. I *have to* rely on other people to tell me what things smell like and if there's anything wrong.

Which may explain why I'm so interested in writing about werewolves. Makes sense, doesn't it? I can't smell, therefore I'm fascinated by creatures that depend on scents as part of their general existance. Well, okay, alpha males are kind of hot too. That helps it some. And I so love to be a bitch!

Alas, I actually have to get some work done today. I'll leave you with this little gem before I go:

"Can a storm be officially designated as a tornado without touching down at a trailer park?"



Anonymous said...

Very entertaining writing. Looks like you've got a real great start to your blog. Keep up the good work. I intend to come back.

Steve Davis

rosemerry said...

Two suggestions:
1. Don't become a professional chef.
2. Look into a waste management job. The pay is great and they have phenomonal (sp?) benefits.

I had an ex-boyfriend who did meteorology as a hobby. Not only does it not have to touch down in a trailer park but I don't think it actually has to touch down. Ya know like start to come down but not actually hit the ground. I could be remembering wrong though.

Cool blog.