I have a nasty bout of bronchitIis and can’t smell anything.
Funny how being blocked like this alters your perceptions.
I feel bulky; stodged; bovine, and ludicrously disinterested.
Yesterday I couldn’t taste my Indian curry, though I felt the spices coursing toward my flushed and ruddy cheeks.
Not smelling means that I don’t really care about anything. I mean I am ‘winding down’ to the end of term now ( more like dragging myself through the dirt on my knuckles, unable to muster up much enthusiasm), but in any case, usually in the workplace I am desperately sensitive to my smell, and the odour of the people and the air around me, but today I just didn’t give a shit.
I lumbered in, taught my lessons, stinking of bronchial secretions, probably, my only overt perfume the lemon oil vaseline I always use at this time of year as a lip balm and surreptitious hand scent.
Nearly messed up with that today, though. I was running out ( a Muji lemon essential oil simply poured into small tubs of standard Vaseline: it takes a few days for the oil and the lube to meld, but when it does you have an instant pick me up and air freshener not to mention germ killer…not that it did me much good this time but)
Today I had my eye on a peel-pressed oil by French company Florame: so extra lemony it practically makes your eyes water and I could smell it, kind of.
Exposing my appalling eccentricity I will tell you that the next five minutes found me locked in a disabled toilet with a jar of petroleum and a chopstick, pouring in the oil, in fact just lodging
it in the opening and letting it just drip, drip, drip: wondering why it wasn’t the usual yellow, and then realizing to my sharp intake
of gasp that I was using Kenyan Frankincense!
( Aside: I will tell you that I have had one of several aromatherapeutic miracles using frankincense, also in relation to asthmatic bronchitis.
The air at this time of year, though possibly still moist by western standards, is, relatively speaking, really dry: all the sultry rain season steam has been sucked ou,t and everyone soon seems to be catching colds.
I remember that Duncan, and also a female colleague of his, had been coughing so violently that
they had put their backs out. The doctor they went to, then, bizarrely, prescribed some kind of amphetamine treatment to ‘speed them up’ and get the lungs expectorating.
Perhaps for the obese and stolid, cholesterol vein clogging type this medicine might get their lungs doing the correct acrobatics, but for Duncan and Samantha they were coughing
all the more: manic, bug eyed insomniacs and I was getting really worried.
As anyone who who has used essential oils for a very long time will tell you, you develop a certain intuition about what might work. A strong and bodily instinct. And I remembered an exquisite frankincense essence I had smelled by British company Aromatherapy Associates, sold in some exclusive Ginza department store and I knew I had to get it, imported and really overly expensive though it was.
The effect was startling and I remember it vividly.
We were both frazzled and sleepless. Duncan was wheezing. He looked desiccated, and crumpled, and I told him to lift up his shirt.
Pouring an excessive amount of the beautifully
Boswellia into a bowl of virgin olive oil, I massaged it in, and, I kid you not, it was as if we had been transported to another dimension.
He immediately stopped coughing.
We looked at each other.
I felt suddenly clear, and relaxed, as though someone had just flicked a switch.
And even the aromaskeptic called Duncan was forced at that moment to concede that the effect on our minds and bodies had been quite astonishing. It felt almost magical.)
So there I am today, pouring oils in jars when I should be in the teachers’ room, and I realize I have
mistakenly poured in all the incense.
Anosmic or no, I would smell so ghostly, and eerie, and even older, to the students: there is no
WAY that frankincense would work in the classroom.
Pressed for time, eye on the clock, I race to the pharmacy and buy two more tubs of mini Vaseline. The lemon WILL have his lemon, even if he can hardly smell it.
And anyway, I quickly realized, the incense can be used as some kind of chest balm. Which is exactly what I am about to do right now, this bus journey reaching my stop.