Living Without A Sense Of Smell

A really interesting and well written article by Emma Young on how Nick Johnson lost his sense of smell due to an ice-skating accident. Besides trying to describe how Nick feels without one of his most important senses, the articles also goes into some details about how important smelling is for our other senses as well.

It is fascinating how much odors can tell you about the person you are currently facing and how it can change the way you feel about yourself as well. Young writes:

"Friends who can smell somehow seem to be picking up on signals [those without smell are] missing, signals that are so powerful they can override the emotional information contained in a smile or a frown."

The most fascinating part about smelling something is the memory component though. As Jason Kottke mentions:

"[…] [M]y favorite thing about smell is its connection to memory... […] There are certain scents that when I smell them, they zap me so vividly back to when I was a kid or in college...it's like time travel."

As previously mentioned, I find memories fascinating. One thing you can't encapsulate in any form is an odor. There's no way of reproducing a smell that means something to you, to make someone else understand the emotional component behind it.

The smell of a freshly cooked meal when you visit your relatives. The smell of the nature, trees, water, etc. when you're on vacation. Even the smell of the rain after a storm. I'm sure you know what feeling I'm talking about.

(Via kottke.org)