Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sniff, sniff

Smell is perhaps the most evocative of the senses. It most assuredly is, for me. Certain scents can stop me in my tracks, dragging me rapidly back to a certain memory here or there. And certain scents remind me of the people to whom they belong. For instance, my older brother, who used to have waist length hair, used Pantene shampoo and conditioner. It was a very long time before I could use it on a regular basis because when I did, well, I smelled like my brother! Not that there is anything wrong with my brother, I just didn't want to smell like him.

The Small One, of course, has a readily identifiable scent. I love it, it makes me happy when I lay down on one of her blankies and can smell her.

There are two particular scents which overwhelm my mind with memories and images whenever I catch a whiff. The first is Dewberry, from The Body Shop. Oh, the fond memories this evokes. Dewberry is the smell of my London apartment. Every time I smell it, I am transported back to my tiny, cramped flat in South Kensington. I remember the noise of the traffic on Queen's Gate, the sight of the little French schoolgirls, dressed like Madeline, parading down the street to their school. I recall the tininess of our postage stamp sized kitchen. The sound of the (very annoying) pigeons which roosted on the back courtyard. It brings back memories of my flatmates, costume designers, all, and very quirky.

From Drop Box

I attach the scent of Dewberry to my flat in London for a very good reason. Shortly after arriving there, I was shopping in Covent Garden and my hands were VERY dry. I hate dry hands. And I am OCD enough that once I realize my hands are dry, I cannot stop thinking about it and must remedy the situation immediately. So, upon realizing, I promptly began searching for said remedy.

Covent Garden is crowded with shops and I did not think it would take but a moment to find a chemist and get some lotion for my poor hands. Alas, there was no chemist to be found! What was I to do? Then I spotted it, The Body Shop. This was well before they were here, so I had never heard of them, but could guess it would be rather outside my price range. But, what could I do? I couldn't enjoy my excursion if all I could think about was how dry my hands were. So, I went in.

There were only a couple of bottles of lotion small enough for me to afford, so I sniffed and bought the one I found least offensive. I did not particularly like it, but I was in need, so there you go. My hands found relief and the bottle of lotion went into my bag, and consequently, into my makeup bag back at the flat. I didn't want to waste my money and so I used the lotion whilst in London, though I did not care for the smell.

Fast forward, back to the states. I had been home quite some time when I walked by a Body Shop in Salt Lake. It had just opened and there was a girl at the front handing out those little paper strips with perfume on them. She handed me one and I took a delicate sniff. The shock was almost like an assault, but very pleasant. I was stopped dead in my tracks. The scent she had handed me was Dewberry. It had been a year or two since London, but it was like I had stepped back into my flat and was getting ready for another day of adventure. I could see and hear everything so clearly! Since then, I have purchased Dewberry rarely. I use it sparingly as I want it to continue to remind me of London, I don't want it to gain any other associations as that particular association is a very happy one for me. To this day, when I open a bottle of Dewberry Lotion, the memories are as clear as when they actually happened, sigh, 13 years ago.

Which reminds me. I haven't had Dewberry lotion for a long time. Perhaps I ought to try and remedy that.

1 comment:

Ed said...

Thanks for your post. It is so fun to read some of the inner thoughts of Tara DeGrey. You have so many experiences I have never heard about and they are fun. You are such a good writer. Post more often is my wish.