Monday, March 05, 2012

Monkey Monday: Laundry Business

"Dr. Juvenal Urbino used to say, not without a certain cynicism, that is was not he who was to blame for those two bitter years of his life but his wife's bad habit of smelling the clothes her family took off, so that she could tell by the odor if they needed to be laundered even though they might appear to be clean (...) Out of simple habit, Fermina Daza sniffed the clothing her husband had worn the evening before and experienced a disturbing sensation that she had been in bed with another man.

First she smelled the jacked and the vest while she took the watch chain out of the buttonhole and removed the pencil holder and the billfold and the loose change from the pockets and placed everything on the dresser, and then she smelled the hemmed shirt as she removed the tiepin and the topaz cuff links and the gold collar button, and then she smelled the trousers as she removed the keyholder with its eleven keys and the penknife with its mother-of-pearl handle, and finally she smelled the underwear and the socks and the linen handkerchief with the embroidered monogram. Beyond any shadow of doubt there was an odor in each of the articles that had not been there in all their years of life together, and odor impossible to define because it was not the scent of flowers or of artificial essences but of of something peculiar to human nature. She said nothing, and she did not notice the odor every day, but she now sniffed at her husband's clothing not to decide it it was ready to launder but with an unbearable anxiety that gnawed at her innermost being".

(Gabriel Garcia Marquez, "Love at the Time of Cholera")

One of the most intimate accounts of the role of the sense of smell in human life. How it invisibly and silently tells us stories - sometimes not what we want to hear. Leave a comment and enter to win Notorious mini bottle (by Ralph Lauren).

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At March 05, 2012 3:58 PM, Blogger nekosan said...

#grin# It's been a while, but I love Marquez's books.

I'm not sure if you've ever read any of Feynman's reminiscences; there's a story about using him using smell to figure out who touched what book. Your Monkey Monday posts keep on reminding me of that story.

So sorry about double-emailing you the other day; my mailer glitched and held onto a draft after I had sent the original.

At March 07, 2012 9:35 PM, Anonymous denyse said...

I have read this book and it brought back memories of my past experience smelling a boyfriends clothing trying to figure out if indeed he was really at the office all those late evenings or if he was up to no good!! We broke up shortly after. We use our sense of smell for many things!


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