I have an exceedingly good nose. It’s not as good as my mom’s, but I’m getting there.
She could stand in the middle of Dad’s hobby-shop and sniff the air, slowly turning in a circle, until she’d suddenly stop, say “aha, gotcha!”, walk over, root around behind the obvious stuff that was crowding a shelf, and triumphantly pulling a bottle with forbidden booze out of its hiding place.
I tell you: a trained sniffing dog couldn’t have done it any quicker than she.
I’m not quite that good. Not yet anyway.
But I seem to smell things that other people don’t.
Or maybe they don’t pay attention.
I can smell on my son if he’s been petting the dog; and not only when the dog is wet and/or stinky.
I don’t need a smoke detector because not only do I seem to smell smoke before anybody else, but the pungent smell of fire wakes me up anytime.
I smell unwashed people, dirty places, dust.
I can smell the rain before it even rains.
I can smell the first drops even when sitting indoors on my couch, with windows and doors closed.
I can spot the smallest drop of spilled gasoline with my nose, after filling my tank.
I manage to recognize from which plants different fragrances come, when taking a walk outdoors.
My olfactory world is enormous.
But as I said, I’m way behind my mother.
That is a comfort to my fears.
Because, you see, my mother is blind.
I’m wearing pretty thick glasses myself, even though their strength is only half of what my mom had at this age. Nevertheless… there is this nagging fear that my good nose is an indicator of coming blindness.
There is also a second fear: I don’t want to smell “all that”.
Even when I was still smoking cigarettes (which admittedly dampens any other smell besides tobacco) I could smell far better than most people I knew. Therefore, I wasn’t impressed when they dangled an improved sense of smell in front of me, as a reward, when we talked about the (then unlikely) event of my quitting smoking.
No, I did not want to have a better nose.
I could already smell a dog pile hidden in the grass before I stepped into it. I had no desire to smell it from ten yards away against the wind.
It is nice to have a good nose. But too much can become very unpleasant, and that is my additional fear.
(I did quit smoking, though…)