The Smell of Sickness

bog_of_eternal_stench

The human sense of smell is often seen as insignificant, dismissed as a distant also-ran to our keen eyesight or sensitive hearing. But this sense is keener and more influential on our species than many people realize. (“The Hidden Power of Scent” by Josie Glausiusz, in Scientific American Mind, August/September 2008:38)

 

I decided on a little adventure! I was excited enough to be up at the same time as the ravens, and into a bowl of ground nuts with a handful of walnuts, a dob of raw sheep yogurt and a glass of home-brewed Illy coffee. Then I was away.

Blissfully unaware that I was to have a shocker of a realization before the early part of the afternoon. People! I’m a dog in a human body!

Okay, let me explain. I drove for 2 hours this morning for the Portarlington Celtic Festival. I got myself lost (that happens a LOT) so I didn’t arrive in town until I was ravenous. The air was clean, the sea, oh, the tang of the sea right up from the deep of the ocean. A short boat trip away from Tasmania, New Zealand and, really, the great Antarctic! Me? Straight to a cafe for eggs and coffee. That was fine. So far, I’m excited…

And everything’s fine.

I cross the road to the park. The major gathering of clans performers, market stalls and food vans. Festive. Bagpipes. Kilts!

I wandered, studying the stalls for something magically Celtic to spend my money on, perfectly prepared to go home penniless. There was nothing. Nothing extraordinary. I wandered and I listened to the pipers but could not get a signal on my measly old iPhone 4 so I have nothing to show you of any of it… besides, I’m just starting to get weird.

I’ve been at the gig for almost an hour, passing families and couples, musicians on their way to somewhere and those kitted out in their most exotic faux Celtic wear, their brogues, their tartan socks and yes, there was a sporran or two, when I realize how fucking uncomfortable I am. I’m in the company of another species and they SMELL WRONG.

I’d been excited! I thought:

kilt sean connery

But I got:

kilts fat guys

This is NOT judgmental. The smell wafted stronger and stronger as the crowd swelled. I was a wastrel, an urchin, among the portly. And the obese. Other than several people passing me with instrument cases slung across their backs, 90% of the people were really, really fat. And not in a glorious fat way that some people are. Because some people are really, really big but whatever they eat, it just males them sexy and curvy. No.

This was organ fat and blocked intestines and bowels that had not worked well for decades. It was milk of magnesia and built-up intestinal gas. Parasites and gut microbiome that had devastated entire healthy inner ecosystems. The vans sold Cornish pasties and sugary drinks, and pastry this and bun-that, each slathered in barbecue sauce or tomato sauce. And the lines at each van were monumental. And everyone wandering, or sitting with their legs spread, on caving-in plastic chairs, or smiling, pretending that this was grand, had food in their faces.

bad fats1

Darlings, is this the unexpected price one pays for being amostpaleo? That one’s olfactory senses become sniffer-doggish? Could we work an airport customs baggage line, do you think?

I just had to attend.

Unfortunately, just this once, I had not thought ahead. I had not packed a snack. So I lined up and bought a cardboard container of char-grilled salmon (shut up about its toxicity) with slaw. I paid and was just about to grab my in-case food when the woman serving looked at me as though I was quite mad.
“What?” I asked, smiling.
“You forgot the sauce,” she said, bemused at my stupidity; my obvious senility.
“Oh. Um…”
“Mayonnaise, here…” and she took back my container, squirting copious quantities of home-made mayo over everything. “There!” she said, proudly, moving onto her next victim.

I made it to my car and placed the offending package on the passenger seat. You know. Just in-fucking-case?

And there it sat, burning my nostrils with no name brand, genetically modified sunflower oil all the way home.

All the way back to the city I contemplated. I realized, that like pheromones, our bodies emit entire scent stories. I won’t make that mistake again. But… I was REALLY SAD that almost all those people were sick. If they knew it, they hid it, if they didn’t know… No, they knew. We’re not talking kids here. None of the people I am discussing would have been under 40. Really sad how slowly they are going to die.

 

Other links here and here

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Age duuna count

AGE DUNNA COUNT

Kindness is so easy.

 

Visiting Dear Daughts in hospital today for a routine gall bladder procedure. A woman, I’ll call her Jane Doe, is in the other bed in the ward, suffering from a really intense gastric infection. She’s seriously obese. She’s gorgeous. She’s sad. She’s alone for ages and not talking to anyone. Eating the crappy whatever-it-is that passes for a sandwich.

Daughts is so lovely and made Jane smile. Laugh. When I came to visit, daughter and I clowned around a bit, drank coffee, chatted and included Jane. She an I got talking. She has Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and some kind of helplessness I don’t know about. She has a husband, and her two 30-something year old daughters just moved back home. They expect mom to cook and clean and go back to the way things were before they moved out, and had husbands.

We asked why, when they’re grown-ups? Jane shrugged. She was APOLOGETIC like what could she do, it must be her fault.

Jane said she couldn’t stomach food (hospital food, DISGUSTING) and could not shift the weight of years. I chatted on a bit about giving up grains and sugar. What they do to us. How they harm us.

I asked how old she was. “I’m 64,” she said, embarrassed, like it is a thing to be ashamed of.

“Hey,” I smiled, “I’m 66.”

Her mouth fell open.

“Darling,” I said, “You can get better… a bit… Are you feeding the others?”

“Yes,” she said, “but I can’t just have one Tim Tam. I have to eat the lot. I don’t know how to stop.  don’t want to be like this.”

“How long you think you’ll be in hospital?” I asked.

“I’m here for a week, I think. This is like a hotel to me. How do you look the way you do?”

I explained.

And then her husband came. He was supposed to bring her the roast veggies her daughters had cooked. He forgot. He complained about the traffic, the weather, their kids, his job, having to come and visit. She tried to placate him. SHE’S THE ONE WHO’S SICK!!!

So. Back to Dear Daughts for a moment. Gall bladder. Forget the fats. Got to make light. Her housemate brought her their homemade, chicken and ginger soup. I made soup also, chestnut pumpkin with rosemary and Himalayan pink salt. I dry roasted some of it with dukkah.

We both fed a bit to Jane, who had never tasted anything as good. She left the hospital sandwich untouched on her tray. Between yesterday and tonight she had totally perked up. Laughed with strangers. Known delicious food.

Moral?

Be kind. Make kind and caring food. Love one another. Make chestnut pumpkin soup and hug your children but don’t clean up their crap. Age dunna count, we can always turn life around.

No matter what our species.

Bon apetit,

Ly x