I Smell Danger


The other day, I was with my son in an electronics store. We needed a new wireless router asap! I knew the features I required, had a price range I could live with and about a zillion questions.

A nice, young salesman gave me his undivided attention for a long time. I remember thinking ‘What great service!’ We wandered up and down the aisle talking about my choices and after a great debate, I was ready to purchase.

Moments later, I walked out of the store smiling at my son when all of a sudden he gasped for air. He expanded his chest and drew in big, deep breaths. I was startled and worried and ready to dial 911 when he turned to me and said, “Didn’t you smell that guy? That salesman had the worst B.O. Geez mom, how could you stand it?”

How could I spend 20 some minutes with a guy who stunk? Easily. I smelled nothing. Nada. Not even a whiff. No matter how many times I tell my family that I smell nothing, they just don’t seem to believe me. I am not pretending. I am not pulling their leg. I really smell NOTHING.

When my grandson poops his diaper and clears the room, I have to be told he filled his pants. I always volunteer to change his diaper because, well, why not? It doesn’t smell to me.

When we drove by a stockyard and the entire car erupted in shrieks from the stench, I sniffed and inhaled hoping to get one small whiff of anything. But no.

When we were in northern Minnesota and the antique store did not have a bathroom inside but an outhouse ’round back’, no problem. I took my time and enjoyed communing with nature.

Good smells, bad smells, indifferent smells are all the same to me. I smell gray. That is the best way I can describe smelling nothing.

But wait, I have convinced myself that I can smell one thing. I believe I can smell danger.

One day when I got out of my car in the garage I noticed that something was wrong. I smelled danger. It didn’t have an aroma. I just sensed it and later found out that our snow blower was leaking oil and gas on the garage floor.

What does danger smell like? A sense of urgency. An uncomfortable feeling. A need to find someone with an intact olfactory system to investigate your ‘feeling’.

The other day I was baking and happily going about my business when the kids ran into the kitchen and said, “What’s that smell?!?” Evidently, burning plastic in the oven does not smell like danger to me.


12 thoughts on “I Smell Danger”

  1. I agree. If I’m engaged I don’t really smell anything. I do enjoy the scent of cologne…it smells clean and well scrubbed, but as I understand it sends some folks into an allergy fit. I’m so sorry. But then we smelled like something was burning about a week or two ago. It was a rubber spatula burning on the dish washer coil! Interesting and funny post at the same time.

  2. If you really can’t smell, you have “anosmia” — and I think if I were to lose one of my senses, that would be the one I would choose. As you pointed out, it had distinct advantages.

    Just do me a favor and check the batteries in your smoke detectors on the 1st of every month. Because fire is the biggest danger to folks with anosmia. They cannot smell smoke.

    Yes, I do know the weirdest things …

  3. I’ve never heard of anosmia before. Hmmm, I wonder though…smell has so much to do with food. Do you taste foods? Does it help keep your appetite down? Just wondering…:)

    1. Great question. I do not enjoy foods as much as I used to, unfortunately, it has not curbed my appetite. I still sense sweet, salt, sour and spicy. So I crave those tastes.

  4. Well, maybe this is a blessing in disguise…as you say, there are a lot of unpleasant odors you’re safe from experiencing! And if you can “smell” danger, then that’s a good thing. I think I have that skill too. So far as I can tell, my traditional sense of smell is intact…I know for sure when diapers are ripe! ~ Sheila

  5. I have a very poor sense of smell. I always have to ask my husband if I remembered to put perfume on and it is a strong scented one.

      1. I taste a lot as I’m cooking and when I think it taste good I ask my husband to taste the dish to see if it needs additional seasoning. :)


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