Smells Like Teen Spirit
Following Shauna Gauthier's post* with a tribute to Kurt Cobain on the 20th anniversary of his untimely death.
Shauna started off our week with a tribute to Kurt Cobain on the 20th anniversary of his untimely death.* Therefore, I’d like to bookend our week with my own tribute to Cobain by referencing Nirvana’s hit song, “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
Wednesday night, I was taking a shower to try and flush out my sinuses. While I absolutely love Seattle in the spring, I do not like the many allergens that show up this time of year. I’ve been coughing, wheezing and itching all over for about a week. So, I thought taking a hot shower with some Eucalyptus oil would clear things up. While the steam did help considerably, I have a flair for the dramatic and often go overboard. So, I thought spraying perfume on at nine o’clock at night would also help to dilate my nasal blood vessels. So, I grabbed a bottle of perfume from the top shelf of the medicine cabinet. It is a fragrance that I never wear. I only still have the bottle because perfume is so expensive, I can’t ever imagine throwing it away.
I spritzed liberally, and guess what? It smelled like teen spirit…the teen spirit of one particular brown-haired girl who wore a burnt orange and olive green Abercrombie & Fitch sweater and was leaning against a tree. Her arms were crossed, but her smile wasn’t. Her green eyes were daring you to know her.
So, there I was, standing in the steamed bathroom with a towel on my head and a robe on my body thinking only of relief from seasonal allergies, and with one spritz, I was instantly catapulted back to my youth, remembering the portrait of Shauna in her senior picture.
Scent is a remarkable thing. It is commonly known as the sense with the most memory. I couldn’t believe how one perfume spray could recall from my preconscious a picture I hadn’t thought of in years. I decided then and there that any chance I get, I’m going to spray some perfume from the fragrance counter at Macy’s, or breathe deeply from a peony blossom, or inhale the citrus oils of an orange peel, or crack the lid off a coffee can, or peel the seal from a coriander tin, or sit in a car that is brand new, and drink in fragrance. I will let scent organically transport me to a time long forgotten. Then, I will sit for a moment and relish the thought of a life once lived remembering the shadows and highlights of that image and will be glad.
What scents do you love? Is there a memory you have any time you catch a whiff of something in particular? Tell us a story about it. We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
*Many of these blog posts were originally featured on a project called "3 Therapists Walk Into a Blog," a collaboration between myself, Shauna Gauthier, and Sarah Isakson.