© 2009 Marica

039 – Cat pee or tea?

Nothing can cure the soul but the senses,
just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.

— Oscar Wilde

It was a short walk to my destination. I needed to leave the building where my office is located to get there. As I walked out into the fresh air I was overwhelmed by its smell. There was a crispness and freshness about it. I stood there for a few moments and breathed it in. As the air infused my body I felt different, I was suddenly re-energised and far more aware. My senses had become aroused. It was as if someone had slapped me on the face and said, “wake-up girl, look at what you’re missing out on”.

As I walked I smelt:  car fumes (a toxic blight to my being), perfume (on a woman walking past me), cigarette smoke (I had to walk through it), coffee, food cooking, the staleness of entry ways and doorways, me on my jacket as I took it off … so much to take in.

Later in the day I got up to make myself a drink. One of my colleagues had just come back from the supermarket where she had bought a packet of herbal tea (grape and pomegranate). She asked if I’d like to try it. I decided to give it a go.The second the first drop of hot water hit the tea bag I smelt (and could taste) grape flavoured bubblegum and lollies which I don’t like and normally avoid. It seemed such an artificial smell. I could imagine a chemist manufacturing it in a laboratory and I couldn’t connect it to the luscious, winey smell of grapes I knew so well. It didn’t even smell like pomegranates. This concoction was all wrong based on its smell.

I walked back to my desk and let the tea infuse before removing the tea bag and actually taking my first sip. I wasn’t disappointed – the tea tasted like it smelled, artificial. I didn’t like it so I left it sitting there and didn’t drink any more of it.

Another colleague walked past my desk. She stopped to talk to me.

“I can smell cat pee but I can’t work out where it’s from,” she said. “I have been sniffing my clothes trying to work out if my cat has peed on them. I don’t how it would have managed to do that though because my clothes are stored in a high cupboard that the cat can’t get to.”

I listened but couldn’t add anything. I have never had a cat and I don’t know what cat pee smells like.

“I can smell it too,” chirped in another colleague. “I have been sniffing all my things trying to work out where the smell was coming from. I thought one of my cats may have pissed on something.”

I didn’t understand why they were involving me in this conversation.

“Do they think I smell of cat piss?” I wondered.

After considering all the options my colleagues decided that it was my grape and pomegranate tea that smelt like cat’s piss – yet another reason not to drink it.

I don’t often think about, or pay much attention to, the smells that flood my senses on a daily basis. Do you? I would even go so far as to say that I completely take for granted the fact that I have the ability to smell. I suppose it doesn’t help that my nasal passages are often clogged up with gunk due to allergies and the many pollutants that live in the air that I breathe in.

I find it interesting how each of us associates something different with the same smell. Smells have an amazing power over us. In an instant they can connect us to places, people, events and emotions that are held within our memories. We shouldn’t ignore our ability to smell. Imagine what life would be like if you couldn’t smell. I know I would hate it. I love the effect certain scents and aromas have on my sense of wellbeing.

Manifesto
08. Every day choose to bring about change.
30. Every day use all your senses. Touch. Smell. Taste. Hear. See.
32. Every day have a laugh.

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