12 January 2011

The Nightmare of Anosmia

Pavia Rosati lost her sense of smell when she suffered a head trauma four years ago. Profiled briefly for a New York Times series about New Yorkers who have lost a sense, Rosati claims to be relieved that she no longer smells garbage lining the street, but also talks about getting a dulled impression of anything she eats (she can still taste food, but without her nose, misses out on the fuller flavor created by spices, herbs or other aromatics). She also misses her Jardin sur le Nil.

I think New York would be an awfully depressing place to be anosmic, and not just because of the food. As ‘bad’ as many city smells are considered, I think the olfactory landscape at street level is a great democratizer – a visceral reminder of how little space so many of us share, and that billionaires smell the same dog shit as panhandlers.

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