Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Mystery Solved!

How often in life do you get the opportunity to have one of your outstanding life questions answered? Don't you just figure you're going to have to wait until you get to heaven?

Well let me tell you about heaven on earth: patchouli oil.

Not that patchouli oil is heaven on earth. It is the anwer to one of my lifelong questions, question being "What IS that smell?"

When one moves in the "alternative" community as we doulas often do, one sometimes comes across a new (O.K. , new if you grew up in a small midwest town) idea such as smudging or totems. For my part, I have enjoyed this expansion of my world view.

I have not, however, enjoyed a certain odor that some doulas and clients share. The origin of this odor has puzzled me since I first noticed it on several law school classmates. At first I thought it was maybe a gender neutral designer cologne. Well, actually, at first I thought it was B.O. But it was nothing like most B.O. I knew, so then I suspected it was a fragrance of sorts.

But I never felt comfortable saying to someone, "By the way, what is that smell you always have?" So I've suffered in silence.

Then last week my sister's boyfriend and I were waiting for her in an Aveda spa of all places, when he says "Wanna smell what a Grateful Dead concert is like?" and pulls one of the essential oil bottles off the shelf. I practically shrieked with joy when I inhaled that elusive pungent draft.

Now I'm wondering if I will ever get to see images of a live Giant Squid.


Blogger T$ said...

When I was in college the entire Art department smelled like that!

3:46 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Oh. My. Gosh! I had such a similar experience with patchouli. This little girl who lived across the street from me when I was a kid always smelled of patchouli. She had other problems, too, and was sort of a pariah in the neighborhood. I thought she had a DISEASE that made her smell that way. And every time I passed someone on the street wearing patchouli I thought they had the same disease as the little girl across the street. At the same time, as an adult, I had heard of patchouli and wondered what it was, but never made the connection. Then one day I read Home of the Gentry, and there was a sentence where the guy comes home and realizes that his estranged wife had been in the house because of the smell of patchouli in the front hall. When I read that sentence I had this blinding flash of insight, as I suddenly made the connection between that gross DISEASE smell and that mysterious substance. I don't know why a completely odor-free book would cause me to make that connection, but it did.

10:10 PM  
Blogger doulicia said...

These comments crack me up! Clearly I'm not the only person this has happened to. The disease theory is hilarious. Actually the first 3 people I knew who shared this smell were all lesbians. But I couldn't figure out any way that one's sexual orientation could account for a distinctive odor except by intentional application. Hence the cologne theory.

10:01 AM  

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