What The Hell Is That Smell?

smellMy mother’s ultra-sensitivity to smells drove me batty growing up.  If I had the wrong hint of cologne on me she could whiff it out and suddenly it would trigger a migraine  – or so she would claim.  Yeah, she was never a fan of my English Leather.

Karma has hit me as today I am pretty sensitive to smells.   I am a bit different though.  It seems that overpowering smells find a way to my nostrils.  Perfumes, colognes, cigarette or just plain stink will seek me out.  I was reminded of that today during my lunch break.

Today I decided to venture away from the office building for lunch outside.  First, it was the “homeless” guy who brings his kid around asking for money.   I put homeless in quotes because this guy has done the same thing for the past two years and even changes out kids.  He preys upon unsuspecting tourists.  Well, he has the stink smell going for him.  I got a whiff of him long before he approached me.

Then I’m walking the sidewalk downwind from the “aqua velva man”.  You know the one.  He’s the guy that bathes himself in his aftershave lotion before he goes out into the world.

I had to literally hold my nose.

I got my lunch and enjoyed the outdoor air – until – some guy comes outside and lights up his cigarette.  Yes, you guess it, the smoke found the exact wind currents to my nose.  Outdoor time is over.  I exchanged a quick, “thank you for ending my outdoor time” glance with him before giving up and returning to the office building.

I wasn’t safe from the scent assault.  I got on the elevator and the woman that enters with me is totally engulfed in perfume that aggravates every nasal cell in my nostrils.  I had to forcefully breathe through my mouth.

Thanks mom.

Now I have you recognizing the smells around you the rest of the day.

If you miss it I suggest you go to the movies.  There is a good chance someone will forget they are going in public and overdo it with their perfume or cologne.

You know, soap and water do a great job.  More people should focus on that part.

I have come to the conclusion that people choose to be oblivious to how their smell might impact others.  I know cigarette smokers do that – and don’t get me started on nasty cigars.  I won’t lump you all into the same category but I have seen that most do not care who is around.

Fortunately these smells have not triggered a migraine headache for me – yet.  I swear i need to wear one of those masks when I got out in public – or maybe I should never venture out in public.

What smells good to you might stink to someone else.  Does your scent enter the room before you do?

A recent study found that 31% of the general population is irritated by the scented products that other people wear and 19% experience negative health effects from air fresheners.

What are the most common irritants?

  • Perfume or cologne
  • hairspray
  • body odor
  • cigarette smoke

Humans (that’s most of you reading this blog) can detect an estimated 1 trillion odors.  Many odors are detected through nerve endings that are associated with pain and temperature sensation rather than smell.

I don’t know about all that but I know that my sensitivity to smells has gotten worse as I get older.  Lucky me.  They say that our sense of smell changes throughout life.

I guess it could be worse.  I should be thankful I don’t clean out sewers or work in health care.  I don’t know how those folks deal with the smells.  I goggled the top worst smells and they were things like:  decomposing bodies, vomit, raw sewage, skunks and rotten eggs.  Yeah, I guess I need to stay inside in my conditioned air.

On a positive note, they say that smells help us remember things better.  Immediately I can remember carnivals and fairs.  There is no mistake to those smells.  High school football games.  Freshly cut grass.  Perfumes (yes, there are some that aren’t bad).  Puppies.

So, do you get a headache from the smells around you?  You’re not alone.

It’s time to make the world a better smelling place.  Go light on the perfume/cologne and be mindful of wind direction when you go outside for a smoke.  Can we all smell along?

Hopefully this blog doesn’t stink.





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