Army of Smells

I’ve been getting migraine headaches for over 20 years, and man do they suck.  For me, strong scents will trigger and exacerbate them.  I felt one beginning to creep up this afternoon.  I cut out of work early to seal myself in a dark room with some medicine.

Before today, I never noticed each individual smell of my commute.  The 7th Street/Metro Center station has its familiar musty and sour background smell, but it wasn’t until my sinuses were attacked by an army of small, painful scents that I recognized them for what they each were.

The guy smoking a cigarette on the escalator.  The kids outside smoking a joint.  The cinnamon-sugar pretzel samples being handed out on the landing.  A chorus of cheap cologne.  Rotting garbage.  A child’s soiled diaper.  Dozens of bodies in a train car after triple-digit temperatures.  Urine in the dark elevator lobby.  The bleach from the custodian’s cleaning supplies.

I wish I could enjoy the moment to be able to recognize each smell for what creates the background smell.  I wish I could enjoy the proverbial forest for the trees.  I really do.  But each smell is attacking me in my moment of vulnerability.  I have fallen to the army of smells.


  1. Ugh, the smell of hot pepperoni at the pretzel stand at Union station, in the early morning, is enough to make me murder people

    1. I know! And then they swarm you to hand out samples. Get it away!

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