Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Chemistry of Smell

Why did I not do better at science at school? It is a black hole in my understanding - more like the dark side of the moon. A hemisphere of ignorance.

This came about because Felix had his teeth cleaned, and it started me thinking about bad breath. The paintstripping, full-on dragon's roar I remember of adults from my youth seems to have gone, unless my own nose has become less sensitive... I think not, but there are still sulphurous whiffs and I was thinking, why sulphur? and come bang up against not knowing.

I remember the olfactory receptors from Biology but not the categories, and I know the elements the way you begin to know people when you move into a village, names but not the dynamics which are the living, breathing essence of it. It's like seeing Arthur Murray footprints on the floor when you long to dance.

Sidetracking: I sniffed perfumes yesterday, and they are getting worse - lolly-water, old tarts, loo cleaner. I blame Britney Spears.

And pragmatically, to learn more about smell, I should watch dogs and flies. They know.


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