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.