No Aroma With Corona

During a recent spell of Covid-19, I was witness to the fact that the virus instantaneously paralyses one’s sense of taste and smell. For me, the temporary inability to detect an aroma of any sort was of more significant concern than the tightened vice-grip on the chest, the volcanic fever and the general feeling of lame lousiness. For trust me, without a sense of smell, the world is an empty, hollow and uninspiring place.

No whiff of salty ocean breeze to announce the impending arrival of a Cape Cold Front. A freshly-baked baguette appears out of the oven, bare and scentless. My neighbour lights up a Partagas Havana cigar, and all I can do is look at the blue smoke, unable to breathe in the heady, warm aroma of burning Cuban tobacco.

And for anyone in the world of wine, snorting scent-less air from a wine-glass is an unimaginable horror. Pretty much like trying to play snooker with one arm or attempting to write a novel using your finger-nail only.

Smell is known as the only one of the five senses connected to memory. That is why the odour of an eraser (that rubber thing on the end of a pencil) has you recalling the coldness of a primary school classroom and that heartless maths teacher who could not stop stroking his moustache. Just so, the scent of lentils and tofu simmering in a pan evokes memories of the communist vegan drama student you dated at university, as does anyplace burning incense or smelling of leather sandals.

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