19 October 2011

Smells.

Yesterday in Leisure and Quality of Life, there was one thing we learned about I thought was really interesting:

"Smellscape."

We discussed how smell is the most memory-provoking sense we have.  Has the faintest hint of a scent ever brushed past your nose and you suddenly thought of a certain place or time of your life?

Sometimes I smell something and I remember every Monday of my childhood at my piano teacher's house, when I sat in her back living room dreading the hour of my lesson.

Sometimes I can smell my Nai Nai's house in San Luis Obispo and I get so tempted to just drive there the second I smell it.

Sometimes I can just imagine the smell of spring rain and a freshly cut lawn back home.  And when this happens, I don't really think of the actual scenario of being at home after a spring rain in my backyard.  Instead, I think of this built-up image of a house in the country with a wraparound porch and a lake and a giant tree and a tire swing.

For me, the most vivid example of smellscape is that anesthesia they use at the dentist's office for things like cavities or the bigger, bitter anesthesia that gets shot into your gums.  You know: that pink, jelly, kind-of-bubblegum-tasting stuff?  It's disgusting, and every time I taste it I get really anxious and start to panic because I know something bad is coming.

But there was one trip to the dentist where I was just getting a checkup, there was no surgery on the schedule for that day.  But I could smell that pink, jelly, disgusting, bubblegum stuff being used for another patient nearby, and I started panicking.  Even though I knew my mouth wasn't the one that was going to get that anesthesia.

I'm not too bothered by the fact that I have a significant psychological reaction to this jelly stuff because it makes sense, given what has often proceeded the taste of this "medicine."  I am bothered by the fact that next time I have to get a cavity filled I'll probably start freaking out.  Which shouldn't happen, because cavities really aren't that big of a deal.

I have a feeling my next dentist visit will be fun.

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