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You'll Know Me By The Way I Smell


Spilled on clothes, furniture, carpeting and in the car, the smell of coffee is a signature scent.

It’s my signature scent: coffee and cream.


I wear it on all my clothes, and dash it on rugs and upholstery. Drop drips on sueded shoes. Like a pre-teen soaking stationery in perfume, I’ve been known to drench papers, important or not. There are several drying on papertowels as I write. Coffee and Cream is not an unpleasant way to smell, but it’s not Chanel. It is, however, a more reasonable way to smell than eau de pineapple, which was how I reeked after a shift at the cannery (which is another story).

Cafe Au Lait wasn’t always my scent; I matured into being a spiller and now I’m a sure-fire winner. Sometimes I alter how I smell, preferring to match the contents of a luncheon- or dinner-plate with a complementary bouquet. I could be wearing something earthy like a quiet cabernet or sport bolder notes, like a fragrant gravy.

I always strive to be part of my environmente. To blend in, to be in the essence of it all. Trend spilling, as it were. Always striving to prove that I am what I eat…or maybe to just smell that way.

A late lunch at the have-a-taste-tables of Costco or Sam’s is an experiential pinnacle.  With all humility I am drawn to fresh-from-the-electric-fry-pan samples of taquitos or shredded chicken dip washed down with a tiny papercup-full of Joint Juice.  Always a new challenge to swallow, not wear.  Those broad cement aisles are like a yellow brick road, just as if they led to the perfume counter at Macy’s.


Resting on a mall bench, I dip a paper napkin into my cup of water so as to rub cookie dough yogurt from my new white sweater.  I am almost orgasmic! awareness heightened! nose quivering like a housecat at an open window!  so many smells here in the FoodCourt!   Why hasn’t a parfumier captured this multiplicity of olfactoriness and called it, oh, I don’t know, maybe Courting.   What a nose trip it would be: complicated floral with top notes of onion.  Applying “the nose’s” skill to combine subtlety with bravado.  Downwind and upwind components.  Uniquely American.

Transported by emotion, I get tears in my eyes. Shaking, spilling, missing my mouth — I experience such an aromatized life! Indeed, I am a fortunate woman!


This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.


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