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The Pervading Aroma of Allium

24 October 2006

Since the late fall of 1993, I have been sensitive to smell. I could probably hire out as a bomb sniffing human, if the editing work dries up. This can be pleasant, smelling the first grape hyacinth of Spring, say, but most of the time it’s just a big old bother (there are many more unshowered [or over-showered and over-perfumed] masses in the world than there are grape hyacinths).

Yesterday, as I was working on a long review paper on the uses of botulism in medicine (let me tell ya, doctors use it for a lot more than just freezing rich faces into masks of disbelief), I noticed it.

Onions.

I sniffed my hands **sniff sniff**. Nothing. But the smell persisted. I ignored it as long as I could, but then I had to go wash my hands with my grapefruit-scented Doc Bronner’s soap. I returned to my desk and attempted to continue work. **sniff sniff**. The smell was still there.

Dang. I checked my desk for empty plates from lunches past (thank goodness for the Consort, because without him my workspace would look eerily like a bachelor’s kitchen). Nope, nothing. **sniff sniff**.

Gah! I had to take the dog for a walk to get the smell out of my nose. I continued in this manner until the girls came home from school. Then I didn’t spend so much time in the office. I asked them if they smelled anything. “No.” It was a foolish thing to do because asking the three others in my family anything about smells is like asking a blind person, “Is this shirt too bright?”

As I type this, the smell is still here. I think I’m going to have to clean my office. **sniff sniff**

But then, then, readers, the smell of onions lost its importance. I asked the Consort to sit in my chair, in front of my laptop in its destop contraption, and smell the smell. Nothing. Then he bent down to smell my laptop, because, he said, maybe something is overheating in there. He stuck his nose right on the laptop’s removable keyboard.

“Hmmm,” he said, “it smells like BO in there.”

Goldarnit. He’s right. How am I supposed to be able to work now?

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