Strange things are afoot today. I still haven’t figured this out, so I just keep telling my housemates about it.
I need answers, and I may not get them.
I put on a shirt today, as I do nearly every morning, and discovered midway through the Pope’s address that it smelled like smoke. Like tobacco smoke. Like I’d gone out back and smoked a pack then sprayed perfume on myself to cover it up.
I assumed it was the shirt. Did I go to a smoky, flowery place while I wore it last? I’m pretty sure I didn’t wear it for long last time, so I didn’t wash it. But… wouldn’t I remember that smoky place? You can hardly smoke anywhere these days. Not that I’m put out by that. I don’t smoke. So why do I smell like it? Did I hug someone who smokes? Like a really long hug?
I spent half a day in the shirt then went back home and changed, thinking that would solve the problem. I couldn’t take it any longer. It was messing with my head, making me question everything.
Changing the shirt didn’t help much. Maybe my skin absorbed it, because the new shirt and cardigan smell the same way, just a bit less strong.
My overactive imagination wonders if there’s a medical condition where you start smelling like a cigarette then spontaneously combust. Or if smelling smoke means you’re going crazy.
It’s a pervasive smell. It stuck with me, for whatever reason, and it reminded me of the day my friend Ellen spoke in chapel at my high school, probably during my junior year. She spoke of campfires and how she loves that smell. It sticks on her clothes and in her hair, and she never wants to wash anything touched by campfire smoke because she wants to be able to smell it forever.
She compared it to the way our lives should be saturated by God’s presence in it. That He should stick to us, and when people get close to us, they should smell Him. It’s a good metaphor because smoke is one of the strongest and most recognizable aromas. It’s also a good metaphor because, like the smell of smoke, it’s stuck with me all these years.
So now that I smell like smoke, I also wonder if I smell like Jesus. Hopefully the latter smell is stronger.
And hopefully the former will go away soon.