Hello, my scent is _____

It’s been a disruptive couple of weeks at my work, mostly in the best of ways, with positive momentum. Still, being a classical introvert who needs proper recharge time and hasn’t gotten it yet, it’s also been draining psychically. Part of what I realized is that I really miss being around people who already know me well, to whom I don’t need to keep explaining myself—I’ve never come up with a smooth introduction or approach to fielding personal questions that I find satisfactory. I’m always caught off guard to an extent no matter how predictable the conversation is with each new person I get to know. I keep trying to figure out why, and I think it’s because my brain is so absorbed in the moment and the interaction, trying to ground it in what is immediately relevant to everyone present; that when someone asks a simple question that’s only relevant to me, it takes mental acrobatics for me to shift focus to the answer and figure out how to package it into a normal dialogue. And it often doesn’t come out sounding quite right.

The other day, I attended a workshop on one of the floors in my office building that we are supposed to refrain from wearing scent when visiting because some people have sensitivities (we got a reminder email recently about it); I hadn’t paid attention to the location in my calendar invite so hadn’t realized, so of course I had gone in scented. On the way from my usual floor, I mentioned this to a coworker, who responded that she never wore perfume or any scented products. I asked if perfume bothered her (in case I needed to keep more distance with my inoffensive secret pleasure Parfum d’Empire Osmanthus Interdite), to which she replied, “I just don’t want to smell myself all day.” To which I blurted, “But you’d just end up smelling other people all day!”

The company also partnered with a local shelter to bring in puppies one day for employees to spend time with for up to an hour as a form of stress relief. As you might imagine, it was a popular perk and the human-to-puppy ratio was very high. Fortunately I got my share of puppy time and the adorable mutts didn’t mind my slightly spicy Ormonde Jayne Montabaco Intensivo.

All the attention and more!

Then I had an appointment with a new primary care provider (which I’d booked half a year in advance and then had to reschedule when I got covid last month), which I didn’t particularly look forward to. She surprised me by being deliberate and thoughtful in her interview with me, asking follow-up questions to things I thought were completely irrelevant to my medical history—I found myself being concerned about taking up too much time! Again, the awkwardness got the better of me as I was fully aware this wasn’t a social engagement nor a therapy session, so I tried to speed through it, although I expressed my appreciation later as I was also fully aware that she was trying to do the best job she could in caring for patients. Anyway, it was somewhat amusing later to see myself described in my medical record, in the Notes section, as someone who “enjoys perfumery”—it’s official now!

6 thoughts on “Hello, my scent is _____

  1. One of the joys of having settled into retirement is that I don’t HAVE to speak to anyone most days. I can happily give free rein to my INTJ & HSP self & just “be”. Admittedly, mostly Kindle in hand. A career in clinical research nursing & management wasn’t an obvious choice.

    After 37 years as a couple DH knows silence is not just golden but as necessary as air & water. He’s a blessing!

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    1. Sounds like something for me to look forward to! I do enjoy talking with people; I just don’t respond well to being asked a series of questions up front as the cost of entry to the possibility of a more relaxed and natural conversation.
      You reminded me of the personalities and I took the quiz to find out that I’m ISTJ (“logistician”), which I think means I lean more toward “observant” while you lean more “intuitive.” Have you tried the Enneagram types? They’re pretty uncanny as well…

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      1. I haven’t done any work with Ennegram typing but will do some reading now. I have done some work with Insights True Colour personalities as well but will read up on Ennegram typing. Than you for that suggestion.

        I once did a UK Health Care leadership course called Leading an Empowered organisation (LEO). It had a session on personality. It was hilarious yet full of insight. A suggestion was to look at your team as the characters in AA Milne’s Winnie the Pooh.
        Eeyore, Tigger, Piglet, Owl, Pooh & Christopher Robin etc. made complete sense to me. I’m not sure of the academic study behind it but as a quick tool it’s a cracker!

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        1. I love the idea of looking at one’s team as Winnie-the-Pooh characters! I bet it could work with Peanuts as well. Psychiatric help, 5 cents… the doctor is in!

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  2. I so enjoy reading you!

    Do you think that the puppy therapy is beneficial for puppies?

    A couple of months ago, I read my doctor’s notes about me (for the first time ever; those weren’t available before we got an app), I remember that it felt weird. I wish he wrote something as cool as your doctor did! 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Undina—you make me feel better! I was afraid this one might elicit some sideways glances.
      I believe and hope that puppy time with humans is good for them as well, as it helps them get used to being around people before they get adopted into a forever home. Puppies have distinct personalities as well: there were the 2 siblings who were more interested in play-fighting with each other, one that ran around a lot, one with a big smile, and a smaller, shy one that worked its way along the edge of the barrier and maximized the amount of petting it got from the surrounding crowd.
      Getting perfumery into my records wasn’t as smooth as it should have been, as I somehow managed to freeze and stumble when asked “What do you like to do outside of work?” as it was maybe the 20th of “20 questions” and my brain was not nimble at all, especially without having had my coffee yet!

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