The Laundry Smell Effect

The ability of the smell of your laundry to affect your day is sorely underestimated. I like to think one of the minor tasks in my life is to make up for the lack of attention this topic receives by disproportionately bringing up the smell of clothes. Usually, this effect is most clear when the smell is horrid, like when your shirt is left out to dry on a rainy day and the collar reeks, or your jeans are unable to dry in the humid, humid air and exude scents that are, simply put, dishonorable, or you walk through a cloud of bacon-fog (that’s the worst). This effect, however, is perhaps even stronger when the aroma is somehow positive, just as the largest shadows eventually find their source in the top of a beautiful, massive mountain.

As I sit at my portable desk today (U.S. version seen here on Crate & Barrel) in front of the window facing the harbor, a heavenly fragrance is wafting its way lazily up toward the ceiling. I did not notice it at first; it is curious, but this seems to happen with beautiful things from time to time. They linger and smile, just at the edge of the meadow, savoring the surprise that will be on your face when you finally look up and behold them. I realized the smell with a pleased start and wondered at the source. Usually, when you notice a smell and have to start looking for what is causing it, the outcome is never fun. Since college this occurs exponentially less, to be fair; back then, the search was endless. Olfactory ghosts used to roam our apartment, haunting us senseless, the disembodied souls of things like clothes full of bingo-hall smoke, or a sink full of dishes which grew fuzz, or a steaming pile of German shepherd poop hidden inside some dog toy (the Ghostbusters would have been hard pressed to do anything about that one). [I thought about really being descriptive there, and telling you the actual stories (which, coming from an apartment of four guys, are not surprising, I suppose) but I decided to continue to keep these entries free from graphic details. They are better told in person, where you can really get into the story-telling.. the hand gestures, the voices, the looks of horror, etc.] To be doing the exact opposite, looking for what I assumed must be a bunch of wildflowers moist with a dash of spring and tied with a ribbon of mountain freshness, which some leprechaun forgetfully left behind, was superbly delightful.

It was my jeans. Jeans do not air dry in this humid Hong Kong climate, as I mentioned earlier, so when I exhaust my four pairs, I take them to a laundromat. My usual place was closed the other day and I tried somewhere new. I did this without realizing that they take their clothes to Neverland to wash them, dry them atop a smiling rainbow-cloud, and sprinkle a bit of hope and dreams before they give them back four hours later.

It is going to be a good day.

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One thought on “The Laundry Smell Effect

  1. S Sturges says:

    Alex: You are terrific!

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