Keeping calm and smelling alright

The Composers
The Composers by Long-Bin Chen


Once again, I find myself short of ingredients about which to write poetry, so I’m skipping K. I hear kiwi fruit is an interesting fantasy note.


It seems that now has been the time to take advantage of the stay-at-home situation to wear bold, NSFW perfumes with great pleasure. I suppose I would if I could, but I haven’t had as much luck as others in this department—the few new (to me) samples that I’ve tried recently have been far too grating for me in one way or another. Cartier La Panthère, too cloying; Maison de Parfum Berry Kastellorizo, too pasty; and Berry (again) Conquérante, too harsh. This isn’t meant as a criticism of any of these perfumes, but rather an observation that I don’t seem to be able to maintain the same level of adventurous curiosity when I’m stuck with myself in a room all day. A good ol’ predictable, harmonious chorus of olfactory notes on faithful standby will do just fine.


I might be one of those types that don’t think they get anxious or depressed, but then end up having to circle back to re-examine that when things manifest in convoluted ways. In this case, I’d been having bad dreams since we started the soft lockdown. So, even though I was sleeping longer due to not having to commute, the quality of my sleep seemed worse. Not completely unaware, I figured it was situational anxiety and learned or reinforced a few things about it, courtesy of the great wealth of coping resources out there:

  • While fear is adaptive—it teaches you not to repeat a behavior that puts you in danger—anxiety is not, and doesn’t really serve a useful purpose
  • Panic is socially contagious
  • It helps to keep things in external focus with conscious effort, so as not to internalize them

For me, part of it also boiled down to addressing procrastination, both work related and personal. This included reaching out to some friends I hadn’t been in touch with for a while and seeing how they were doing—thankfully, they are well.

Next up, maybe some chores…


A theme of memes and jokes going around is how we’ll deteriorate into much simpler creatures if the isolation goes on and we lose our social skills. I think that right now, keeping things simple already isn’t a bad idea. As much as possible. It helps to distill things down to what’s important today. Tomorrow is another day.






7 thoughts on “Keeping calm and smelling alright

  1. I use this time to re-test a lot of samples that I accumulated over years to decide what to keep and what to pass on. I can’t do it when I’m in the office. But working from home, I can test 4-6 perfumes during the work hours. And then for the evening walk I put on one of perfumes from my collection.

    Since I’m not at home alone, I don’t really suffer from this situation itself (of course, we’re worried for our friends and relatives, as well as consequences). But I sympathize a lot with those who are either left on their own or have small places they have to share with too many others.


    1. Maybe I’ll work up to those numbers—I’m still mostly on a one-per-day regimen, though I’ve started trying 2 on some days. I’m not home alone either, thankfully; what I meant by “stuck with myself in a room” is that whatever I put on, I have to smell all day while sitting in front of my laptop (without the pleasure of “sharing” it in various meetings and dissipating it in the air in more places). Not sure that the environment makes any real difference in how much I end up liking a new perfume.


      1. People describe it as having a manure vibe. . . I had a tester tube and accidentally spilled in all over my hands. It was horrible 😉

        Now they say the manure vibe is from the type of natural oud. But I’ve never smelled an oud like that.


          1. I guess but I have a few variations of oud and have smelled quite a few more. I’ve never smelled one like this! But it does have a following!

            In my limited knowledge, I believe there are quite a few relatives to the Agarwood tree that can all get the infection that produces the oud sap. So maybe this is just from one of the less popular ones. . .

            Liked by 1 person

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