|“For the sense of smell, almost more than any other, has the power to recall memories and it is a pity that we use it so little.”|
|Rachel Carson quotes|
Scents can evoke memories, set a mood, get us in a “zone” or take us out of one. Last week a co-worker brought in some grapefruits. While I love them, I don’t go particularly gaga over their scent. Conversely, I take care not to eat oranges at work because their strong scent seems to stay on my hands all day. My friend picked up the grapefruit and talked about how much she loves the way they smell. I saw pure joy on her face and heard it in her voice. I still don’t really care one way or the other about the way a grapefruit smells but I know that now whenever I catch the whiff of a grapefruit, it will trigger the memory of my friend and the happiness on her face. I am picky about scents. I don’t like the scent of people, places or food to be too heavy or overbearing. I am sensitive to the point of sometimes getting headaches or feeling sick to my stomach. I can’t stand the way the smell of cooked food can often cling to us and it never fails to amaze me how other people don’t agree. Even though I know it my neurosis, I can’t figure out why they don’t want to rush into a shower and get that offensive smell right off them! Because of this strong aversion, I also don’t like if the house smells too strongly when I am cooking. While I can appreciate the smell of a good meal, I don’t want to smell it tomorrow, too. When I am cooking certain foods, I run frantically around opening windows, shutting doors, spraying Febreze and lighting candles lest the odour should permeate the house. In the meantime, everyone will come in and rave about the great smells emanating from the kitchen.
Scent is also used in retail. There are certain retail stores that can be associated with their scent. They use it to create an ambience that will attract customers and put them in the mood to buy. Not so different from animal scents that are used to attract the opposite sex! Restaurants and bakeries also do this. When my sister was showing her house, she would bake an apple in her oven to give it a “homey” smell. So….not just to evoke memories but also to help create new ones!
As I write this, I have no less than 5 candles lit around the house. They look pretty but more importantly, they smell good! I know I said it already but scent can evoke powerful memories. When I was young, my mother always wore Chanel N5 when she was dressed up. When I moved away from home, I kept a bottle of Chanel N5 on my dresser. Smelling it never failed to conjure up a loving, warm memory of her and made home seem not so far away. Every time my daughter comes home, she gives me a big hug and says,”You smell like my mommy!” I interpret that as….you smell like home or even better….you smell like love!
“Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will. The persuasive power of an odor cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it.”
― Patrick Süskind, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer