Welcome to My Non-Smelly World

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Welcome to My Non-Smelly World

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I am currently in the midst of a once in a lifetime experience that I never thought would occur. First, allow me to lay the foundation for this submission. I was born with a condition called Isolated Congenital Anosmia. In laymen's terms, I was born without a sense of smell. This is a rare disorder that affects between 1%-5% of the overall population.* I rarely volunteer that I cannot smell as it involves laborious conversations answering questions as to why and how it could have happened, what foods I can taste, or if I am sad or angry that I have this condition. People are well-meaning, but it gets old repeating this conversation multiple times, so I avoid it like the plague. Wait. Too soon?

My preference to keep this close to the vest changed with the arrival of COVID-19. Those who have still not regained their smell after recovering from the virus are now temporarily just like me. It is surreal. Not so secretly, I admit I feel a tiny bit of satisfaction that they are experiencing a glimpse of my day to day life. As a result, I am now feeling the odd desire to tell anyone and everyone about my condition.

I feel compelled to share advice and comments with this segment of society while wearing a hat bearing the words, "Welcome to my world!" Also, ideas of creating a Zoom course titled "How to Survive the No-Smell Apocalypse!" frequently come to mind. I can include concepts such as enlisting close friends or neighbors whom you force to smell your house before having people over, obsessively take the garbage out since you do not know if it smells, or the joys of surviving a dutch oven with zero consequence. Also, I will share my list of candle scents that anyone would enjoy smelling in your home. Hint: There is only one, vanilla. Trust me. I have tried them all using my family as guinea pigs.

Finally, I feel like the art of 'fake smelling' is underrated and must now be remedied for society to interact with some sense of normalcy during this otherwise chaotic time. I will demonstrate the proper and accepted social reactions when smelling various odors such as used diapers, spoiled foods, lotions, perfumes, or (insert all world smells). The creme de la creme is learning how to emote false elation at the announcement of another semi-annual Bath and Bodyworks candle sale or when Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes come around again. The ability to avoid drawing attention to yourself via 'fake smelling' cannot be underestimated.

In conclusion, this pandemic has provided a unique opportunity for others to experience life through my nose. It is not something I would ever wish permanently on others, yet knowing that it is a temporary condition, I have found it to be a bit of respite in a dark year full of so many unknowns. Now can someone confirm whether my Jeep honestly smells like stinky teenage feet or if my husband is messing with me again?
*Disclaimer: This measurement may not still be accurate but comes from articles and journals I have read over the years.

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This item was submitted on January 24, 2021 by R. Keagle using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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