Day 25: Adventures in Anosmia.

According to the internet’s most reliable source, wikipedia, anosmia is “a lack of functioning olfaction, or in other words, an inability to perceive odors.”  In OTHER other words, it’s a lack of a sense of smell, y’all.  I’ve had no sense of smell since birth.  However, I didn’t figure that out until around middle school.  I’m still not entirely sure how I made it twelve or so years without a sense of smell without noticing something was missing, but I am definitely relieved to finally know how on earth people figure out I cooked brownies when I leave no visible evidence.

There are many positive sides to no sense of smell (I grew up with two brothers y’all… think about it).  There are also some negative sides… I completely miss out on the “full experience” of some things because I can’t smell.  I can’t smell fresh flowers, or fresh rain, or the smell of ocean air at the beach.  I can’t smell something yummy cooking in the kitchen.  I can’t smell Dave.  That one is a pro and a con though… From what I’ve heard about men and their smells, if I’m going to commit myself to living with a man for the rest of my life, the positive likely outweighs the negative with no sense of smell, right?! 😉

I learned that my condition is called anosmia from an even more reliable source (the source of most of my knowledge): a mediocre romantic comedy.   The other day I was explaining to a real estate agent that if I had a gas stove, I would need a gas detector since I can’t smell a gas leak.  I told her that I learned my condition is called anosmia from an Ashley Judd movie.  She kind of looked at me like I was crazy.  How is that crazy?! 😉

In the movie, Someone Like You, Ashley Judd suffers a bad break up and she hates that every smell reminds her of her ex.  So she goes to the doctor to see if he can remove her sense of smell so she won’t have to remember her ex anymore.  After explaining the smells she says, “if I could just short-circuit my nose somehow I might actually have a chance at living a semi-normal life someday.”  And then the doctor says nine little words that changed my life, ” Why would you want to voluntarily make yourself anosmatic?”  Ok, it didn’t actually change my life, but for the first time ever I knew there was actually a word for me.

We ended up getting that house (a rental) and Dave promptly went online and ordered a gas detector so if I’m there alone I don’t blow up.  He is so thoughtful 😉


One thought on “Day 25: Adventures in Anosmia.

  1. Wow! I’ve read about this and have wondered what it would be like. The first place I heard about it was reading about a chef who lost it. It turned out he also lost his sense of taste. I guess that isn’t too surprising as the two are related. That led me to reading a book called Neurogastronomy by Gordon Shepherd. Really fascinating stuff on how smell and taste are integrated to produce taste in the brain. There are several types of smelling and a type I was unaware of is very important for flavors.

    It is hard to imagine how senses are different in other people. A friend of mine has synesthesia where senses get mixed together. In his case it is sight and hearing. He is terribly creative – a physics professor – and apparently the condition is much more common among composers, scientists and mathematicians. He said he is always curious what it might be like to have clearly separated senses as he can’t imagine that.

    I have been following you in my rss reader ever since having googled on the Martha Stewart tall show, which I was interested in. Your blog was interesting and I check every few weeks. Now to see a pile of posts!

    Congratulations and good luck to the two of you!!

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