Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee; I haven’t talked about coffee in a couple weeks. Maybe that’s because I’ve been drinking the same few things. Sometimes, I like ‘familiar.’ Anyway, today the coffee came in a blue bag that tears easy and gets tossed. They sell this stuff to all the offices; there must be a landfill dedicated to just these blue bags. Is it worth it? Half a year ago, I’d come to work with a cup already made. Beans I ground each evening and woke up to, problematic in their own ways, but less waste, fair trade. What have I traded that tradition for? Most mornings I’m the one to set the office machine, and when I do there’s this look from my colleagues like ‘oh – the gears are turning, we can start again.’ I love that look. So what I’m saying is it’s selfish, but I’ve got this fear that if I stopped making morning coffee at the office, the morning wouldn’t wind. Today, the grounds were a bit less bitter than usual; or maybe that’s the taste of a Monday, optimism for a better week than the one before.
From the tail-end of 2010 through 2013, I smelled like a $60 bottle of Lacoste Essential. For those who don’t know the scent, grab a bag of peach Lipton tea, leave it in the sun for two hours, then rub it with a dryer sheet – that’s close enough. I smelled that way because my partner liked it. I liked my partner, so this seemed a fair deal. We picked the scent together at a Macy’s in south Durham and I wore it religiously until we separated.
Afterward, I kept wearing cologne. I’d gotten in the habit, but I needed a new smell. For a couple Christmases toward the end of high school, my uncle had been sending me sample bottles he got from his work doing perfume displays. It was a gift of convenience, but also the thought I might want to impress someone someday. At the time, I didn’t touch the samples. But in 2013, they became the new me.
I come to smells like music spilling out of a bar you’re walking past. They’re just enough to stop me, never enough to draw me in. You don’t know notice the stink of your old desk chair until you’ve been traveling for a couple months; the lavender in your parent’s garden takes you home. These days, I don’t wear much cologne. It got too bothersome to pick a scent and stick to it, and I had a partner later who got bothered by the smell. I don’t know if that’s an act of laziness or self-actualization on my part, sticking closer to the composition of my skin. But it’s had the strange side-effect of creating a new nostalgia: if I’m walking around and get a whiff of $60 Lacoste, I see a history of bleached peach winters, cozy rough dryer sheets. I kind of like it.
Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller
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I believed I could identify the scent of the sky as I stood there, a blue menthol fragrance similar to the scent of seawater that sprayed into my face when I first dove into the ocean.Anne Spollen, The Shape of Water
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