Monday, September 13, 2010

Long Drive and Olfactory Contemplations

Clint and I are traveling, tonight. He is driving, and I am surfing the net and eating a handful of "Good 'n Plenty" that I bought at our dinner stop at Cracker Barrell. Black licorice, I love it, and offered Clint some. He doesn't like black licorice, he doesn't like licorice at all, he tells me. I think I knew that.

Well more for me, I pop another and think about my Dad. He hated the smell of licorice. He probably hated it because it made him vomit. When we were little, my sister once tried to sneak a piece into the car. She could just keep it in her mouth, and he'd never know.

We made it to the end of the driveway, where he stopped the car, opened the door, and vomited. His mother was the same way, we knew better than to take black licorice into my Grandma Stewart's house.

I have a long ride ahead of me, so I sit and contemplate which smells that I have a violent reaction to. Certainly there's nothing that makes me vomit. Oh, wait, I take that back. Years ago, there was a party in my house in which someone left venison steaks in a mini freezer, meant for another guest to take home. Said guest forgot, and the freezer was unplugged, post party. It was brought to my attention 3 weeks later, and since I was the only one home, the responsibility of moving them out of the freezer fell to me.

I threw up, and had to throw the freezer away.

But that doesn't count, that's too obvious. Plus I think I blogged that story already once before, so forget it.

Which smells make me nauseous? Wintergreen comes to mind first and foremost. Mom would spoon wintergreen-flavored pepto bismol down my throat when I had the flu as a kid, and I'd just throw back stinky wintergreen vomit.

A side-story! One time when Brian was a little kid, he asked me what a bismol was. I told him it was a game played with a bismol glove and a bismol bat. He was only 6, but had long since figured out that I could be full of crap, and he just gave me the stinkeye. If nothing else, I taught that kid how to deliver total b.s. with a deadpan face.

Paybacks really are hell. Two years ago when he was on leave he called me over to show me his new tattoo. "Its a swastika," he said. This was then me, moving across the living room:

He finally broke a smile when he realized I was seconds away from grabbing a melon baller and relieving him from any such tattoo. There was no new tattoo, he was just jacking with me. Hilaaaaarious.

Not. I digress. Wintergreen, don't care for it, and I obviously wouldn't touch pepto bismol with a 10-foot pole. I don't like the smell of watermelon gum. Or grape gum. Or strawberry "flavoring."

My father was a UPS mechanic, and someone once dropped a case of embalming fluid in the building, leaving the building smelling like roses. For years I had an aversion to the scent of roses, just for the neurological association to embalming fluid.

For some reason not too many more come to mind, I can think of more things that I like the smell of that most people do not: bleu and other strong cheeses, fish, strong curries, gasoline, solvent, ink. Maybe my fondness for strong smells makes me more tolerant of odors that offend others.


What about you? Which odors turn you green in the face? Which do you love, common and uncommon?  Why?

Keep us entertained with your comments; we have a looonnnggg drive ahead of us.


  1. I'm with you on gasoline and ink. (I also love diesel exhaust and motorboat exhaust.) I also hate watermelon candies and gums.
    On the other hand, black licorice is hideous and I love wintergreen. The only smell that might actually make me vomit is the smell of someone else's vomit.
    I hope your trip is good!

  2. I LOVE the smell of firewood, of toast and of freshly brewed coffee. I also use to LOVE the smell of beer on Antoine's lips :-)

    I HATE the smell of gas, cigars, and ear wax. Lol.

    Off subject but this post made me think of it- my favorite sound in the world is the sounding of opening and closing a tent. That zipper sound reminds me of all the summers spent in Sequoia.

    I hope your very long drive is bringing you closer to your boy... I hope. I hope. Drive safely!

    Hi Clint!! Take good care of my lovely friend, you lucky man, you!

  3. Definitely agree with geewits on vomit inducing vomit... though that's probably fairly universal as a survival trait... one guy in the tribe gets sick after dinner, everybody else starts yakking. Blech.

    I love the smell of a freshly opened bag of potato chips.

    I have some trauma related stuff that I won't get into that make me extremely nauseas, though I've gotten better about coping skills and avoiding what used to be an inevitable hurl.

    On a happier note: the smell of bacon... frying in the pan. [drool]

  4. smells I love: pencil shavings, strawberry juice on the hands of my youngsters, the inside of an empty Skittles bag

    smells I hate: fingernails after developing photographs, new rubber tires in the entry to Costco, poop

  5. Good smells: dirt just after it rained,a baby's skin just after a bath,leaves burning,ohhh..there's too many..
    bad smells:not so good with the smelly cheeses..but you knew that :)
    sounds: I LOVE the sound of a dog barking in the distance, or a radio playing far away..or an airplane flying overhead..they all relate to something in the past..but I don't remember travels you two.

  6. Love this post!

    I too like the smell of gas, ink, black licorice/anise,bacon ... clean babies and coffee!

    Umm, no fish, love to catch it, eat it but UGH do not like the smell. Nor do I like the smell of raw beef or chicken or raw eggs.

  7. As soon as I get even a whiff of Lavender it makes me want to vomit.
    When I was first pregnant with my son I' just moved into a new apartment and could *swear* there was some kind of terrible smell, which of course nobody else could smell. My mom thought I was crazy and filled my apartment with lavender scented air fresheners, thinking it would take care of it.

    I ended up having to throw all of them out when I realized that they were making me feel more sick than the "smell" (which I learned did not exist) in my apartment.

    Even now I can't have air fresheners in the house or the car!

  8. Dislike (understatement): Fish. Like your father with licorice, just the smell will make me vomit. It's uncontrollable and unintentional.

    Like (unusual): Gasoline, exhaust, skunk, strong cheese, ink (oh yes!), bleach, the T (the Boston subway ~ and yes, it has its very own, very distinct odor).

  9. smells I love...the first drops of rain on cement, gasoline, exhaust fumes, wet clay pots and yes, lavender.
    not so much....onion bagels and candle stores


Back talk! Comment here!