She ‘nose’ something is adrift

My nose is no longer reliable.

Oh sure, I can still stick it into other people’s business where it doesn’t belong, but as for tracking scents, it’s no longer dependable. Some days it works; some days it doesn’t.

I used to be able to smell garlic in a parking lot surrounded by five restaurants and identify which restaurant it was coming from and what dish they were making.

I used to be able to identify women’s perfumes by a mere whiff. I startled more than a few women in elevators and theater seats by shouting out, “Estee Lauder” or “Chanel.”

It was like I was on a game show with no competitors and no prizes, which is too bad, because I could have won a new car and trip to the Caribbean.

Fortunately, I have passed my once very keen sense of scent on to one of the grands.

The child will walk into the house and say, “I smell basil.” She’ll be 100 percent correct.

Last week she opened the pantry cupboard and said, “I smell coconut.” Bingo!

Sometimes I use her as my taster when I cook. She’s excellent with guacamole.

“How’s this?” I ask.

“Needs more salt.”


“Needs a little more lemon juice.”

There are days when my sense of scent rallies and I can still smell with laser precision. A few months ago, I was outside and smelled the scent they put in natural gas.

I called the gas company and they sent a service rep. I led him around the yard with his detector wand until we found just the right spot and he located the leak.

He punched five holes in the gas line by the street and said I’d be smelling it even more until it was fixed.

I didn’t smell a thing.

Last week, I was operating on nothing but coffee when I went to the ‘fridge and got a slice of cheese. As I closed the refrigerator door, I smelled smoke in the kitchen. I didn’t see smoke, but I definitely smelled it. I checked all the outlets and the light switches and nothing felt warm.

I returned to the computer with my snack. I still smelled smoke. I checked the surge suppressor and began sniffing high and low to see if my nose would lead me to the source of the scent.


I walked through every room in the house. I could still detect smoke, but for the life of me I couldn’t tell where it was coming from.

I walked through every room a second time and still smelled smoke.

I was about to call the husband inside to help find where the smoke smell was coming from when I finished off the last bit of cheese.

Even my hand smelled smoky.

This is crazy, I thought. I wondered if my clothes smelled smoky, too.

Then I remembered—the sliced cheese I’d bought at the store, and was now eating, was smoky cheddar.

Some days I miss my sense of scent. Other days I miss my mind.