What does it take to be suitably stimulated? It’s so personal, it’s entirely different for each and everyone of us. Thank G-d. Although intensifying experiences, be they artistic, literary, sexual or cultural with scent, is definitely more thrilling when you can share it with a person/people who like to open themselves up to a different level of enjoyment.
I guess I mean using life’s marinades as a way of overcoming the horizontality of the kind of consumption we’ve taken to, the flatness of everything ground down to ‘content’. Maybe it’s about context and stature, nostalgia and the future. Maybe, maybe, maybe.
I’m back in New York and remembering the smell of bougainvillea on hot afternoons, the sound of the waves sliding up and down the rocky beach, the way the clouds obscured some parts of the mountains but the sunlight shone on others. If I look at postcards I brought home – I like to send pictorial dispatches once I’ve left a country – they are kind of like olfactory reminders for my imagination that I want to scratch, and then sniff. And then scratch again.
When I’m not in New York, another set of scratch ‘n’ sniff triggers happen. I look at an American flag bandana that somehow comes everywhere I go, and it’s all pizza, hot dogs, churros, garbage, sewer steam, bagels, grass, and pastrami – all in their entirety fond memories of seemingly inconsequential aromatic rumblings. But they end up being scene stealers. Of note.
I collected scratch ‘n’ sniff stickers when I was a little girl with relish. Then I moved to scratching perfume strips in magazines aggressively. Later on in life, I found out that anything that’s scratched and produces an aroma, is made by enclosing individual beads (imperceptible to the human eye) of scented oil in tiny plastic capsules which can be broken open by friction. It was wondrous to me then, and it’s wondrous to me now.
If my ramblings seem dubious, just try rubbing the seat you’re sitting on say, and tell me what kind of discerning or disrupting happens in your imagination. Get ready to start playing with your own chemical bouquets. It’s really all in the mind anyway.