Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Sense of smell returns, wish to god it hadn't

Who would have thought that one would actually be disappointed by a human sense returning?

Yes. when I first moved to NY, be it allergies or genetics or even just good fortune, my sense of smell all but vanished. As in, I could smell some things, but random, totally useless smell noticings - like the newness of a roll of masking tape but not a trash can full of dog poop near the dog run in the park. Someone could say "what is that smell?!?? eyew" and my usual response would be "huh? my sense of smell kinda sucks, sorry". Conversely, someone could say "mMmMmm! what is that smell?!?!??" to which my response would usually be the same. The interesting part, came in those middle grounds, usually where someone didn't say anything at all. Then, I could sometimes smell things. I feared I was psychosomatically blocking my own sense of smell because I'd already become used to identifying myself as someone who doesn't smell things. Why would I do that? I dont know, why does anyone do anything psychosomatically? Honestly though, I tried not to question it, lest I lose my envied ability (to not have an ability).

Lately though.. I've been able to smell.. just about everything. I think. I mean, do you really know you're not smelling something if you're not smelling it? (with no one to ask if you're smelling it or not of course). And damn it.. I want my sense of not smelling back. When I moved here, I quickly realized that not smelling New York was a blessing. A profitable trade off of a lot of bad smells not smelled and just a few good smells not smelled. Now I smell that damn charcoal that heats pretzel vendors' carts, the chemicals they use to try to mask the dog run smell and rotting street trashcan trash, crowded subway cars and standing gutter water, the permanent gas cloud at Macy's perfume counters and New York's unique homeless body funk.

I had so romanticized my awesome inability to smell New York (and the hope that my other four senses would compensate, turning me into a cat like superman - moreso than I already am of course) that I really feel like .. I got stripped of a special badge and now, I have to ... sigh.. live like the rest of you. You .. smellers.

Seriously. How do you do it? it's still the best city on earth but man it stinks.

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