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THE NOSE KNOWS
3 April 2014
"That's My Answer" (my daily question-answering site) introduced me today to a new web site, The Daily Post @ WordPress.com. It's a place that poses a daily question as kind of a kick-starter for bloggers who are stuck for a subject to write about. On days when I don't leave the house and don't do anything but web stuff, TV stuff, and cook dinner, it's sometimes difficult to come up with something to talk about that is even remotely interesting. I have often felt that the secret of a good blog is to write consistently (in my case, daily). If you let long gaps go without entries, people are going to stop reading you.
Quality is also a big factor and it's difficult to be really good every day. Sometimes it's difficult to be good any days. But if you stay true to your voice and let the thoughts flow, chances are that when you look back five years later and read what you wrote, you won't entirely hate it.
But it's always nice to have something to get the creative juices stirred up. (I could go for six months on nothing but memes, given how many I have saved and have not yet printed, but even I would get tired of that. Sunday Stealing is plenty, unless it's a week when the questions don't really apply to me at all.)
I've been exploring The Daily Post this afternoon and found some questions I liked and some that I didn't, but one theme that popped up more regularly than any other concerned time travel. In fact, there is a section set aside for a weekly writing challenge and this week's is Time Machine.
"Why does every generation create its own dorky version of time travel?" the challenge asks. I immediately think of David Gerrold's "The Man Who Folded Himself," which was so convoluted that I got a headache just reading it. ("Think how I felt writing it," he said, when I complained!)
But so many memes that I come across invariably ask the question "if you could go back in time and visit any period in history, which one would you choose?" or something along that line.
I've given a lot of thought to time travel and what I would do if I had the power to go back to a former era in world history. But I always have a big stumbling block. My nose.
There was a time when I wanted to be a nurse. I read all the nurses novels for young people and imagined myself in a stiff white uniform, ministering to the sick. I would be a pediatric nurse, of course. I would cuddle sick kids and work with the doctor to make them well. I would be that wonderful woman in white.
But then one day I realized that nursing was more than just cooling fevered brows, it also involved cleaning up yucky stuff. Poop. Vomit. Blood. Mucus. That kind of stuff. The very thought of it made me nauseous. (Oddly enough, the smell of skunk, at least the way I have smelled it, doesn't bother me at all.)
I love watching all the crime shows where so much of the activity takes place in the autopsy room, where people sometimes stand around with handkerchiefs to their noses, or Vicks rubbed across the upper lip, or, in the case of new recruits, may faint outright. It's OK for me to watch Ducky to pick out a diseased liver and shove it up to Gibbs' nose to give him a sniff because I can't smell it. Looking at yucky stuff doesn't bother me all that much, but smelling it made me decide that I didn't want to be a nurse after all.
In all the years of kid vomit during our children's growing up years, Walt was 90% of the time the parent who cleaned up the vomit while I got the kid into clean clothes and changed the bedding and got the kid back to bed again after cuddling. I have been grateful to Walt over and over again for his willingness to do the jobs that require bad smelling stuff.
So when I think of time travel, it has to be with the caveat that if I go back to some pre-indoor plumbing era, I have to have my olfactory senses disabled for the trip! While it would be nice to visit, for example, Dickens' London, the idea of folks tossing their evening's eliminations out the window to the street below make me turn away from that opportunity.
What did Versailles smell like in the era of Louis XVI? As much as it would be interesting to visit Scotland during the age of the Jacobite Rebellion, how bad did it smell? What was the smell in caveman caves?
Even just time traveling to visit my Compassion kids...it's a terrible thing to admit but they all live in poverty, many with polluted water. Could I walk through slums without embarrassing myself (and them) by vomiting at the smell they live with every day?
So I'm afraid my nose makes me a very poor candidate for time travel. Heck, it's sometimes difficult just to clean out my refrigerator when things have lived there too long!
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