My other half and I have long suffered erratic, thumping noises coming from above our apartment ceiling at unpredictable intervals during random mornings, afternoons, evenings, and nights. We have made several noise complaints against the same neighbors when their loud music and parties persisted well past midnight, although this was not as frequent as the stomping.
Two weeks ago, we moved to a different apartment within the same building, with the same floor plan but on the top floor and facing a different direction. It’s an improvement in many ways, and we are both very glad we got such a stroke of luck. It even cost ever-so-slightly less to rent than the previous place.
I’ve moved a lot in my life so far, especially in my student days. During those years, I felt that was a point of pride as it made me seem more worldly (in my own eyes), and I didn’t have any proper furniture or much stuff in general. Now, I still don’t have much stuff because I can’t stand clutter, but just the thought of moving and all the associated hassle overwhelms me into inertia and I resist the idea even when the pros of a particular move would far outweigh the cons. Cue the other half who ideates, motivates, and orchestrates to make it happen. (As soon as the paperwork is signed, though, I start my Tetris-style packing and enter us into “box hell,” much to his chagrin.)
This is the first time I’ve moved since getting into perfume, so I didn’t have a precedent for how to transport my bottles, vials, antique boxes, racks, curio cabinet, perfume-related magazines and books, and various glass display cases—a respectable amount of “stuff” to give my 2-year-old hobby a presence, I would say. Most of the bottles ended up being stuffed in between perpendicular rows of books, among bubble-wrapped ornaments, or slid into remaining spaces in fully packed boxes. All arrived safe and sound at their new home.
I also paid special attention to the smells of the new apartment. In the emotional part of my brain, it’s a smell of “newness,” and pretty consistent across these types of buildings. When analyzed one by one, none of the scents are particularly pleasant, and all are “chemical” to varying degrees.
The first whiff upon walking in the door is paint. I love a pristine, unscratched wall. (I like the industrial-chic look with exposed brick, as well, but we don’t have that.)
The first tour of the bathroom reveals lingering vapors of bleach. Our brains are wired to feel safer knowing that the surfaces we will touch have just been disinfected, right? (Mine is, but it also makes me think that the same rag was likely used to wipe all the surfaces, which isn’t as comforting.)
The larger spaces abound in a smell that indicates wood. It’s not a woody scent. These floors and cabinets are engineered hardwood and smell like varnish and the adhesive paper linings in the drawers.
One odor that was slower to emerge and capture my attention was something slightly floral and cloying, inducing a temporal feeling of repulsion—carpet cleaner.
(I would like to say that I smelled something metallic from the stainless steel appliances, but that would only be my brain getting carried away with visual input.)
Together, these smells make up a whole that has a positive effect on me, the exhilaration of renewed potential, no doubt as a result of years of conditioning. Fortunately, the bleach and carpet cleaner dissipate relatively quickly while the paint and wood smells stay longer. I for one am in no hurry to replace them with cumulative infusions of cooking smells and various perfumes—those will take over in due time.