Sunday, August 21, 2005

Scents and sensitivity, and the weather?

I am very fond of scents. I wear perfume nearly every day, and have aromatherapy lotions and bodywashes galore, along with several essential oils. It seems to me, however, that folks here are crazy about things scented. So much so that when I tried to find an unscented laundry detergent(washing powder), I was not terribly successful (I think there's one in the local health food store - when I run out I'll try there). It's not that I don't like the smell of freshly washed laundry, it's that I do like the smell of freshly washed laundry, without the smell of other things, that is. And there's also a personal setup difficulty - my mum-in-law keeps the laundry detergent in an open box along with all the various scented cleaners, air fresheners, deodorizers, etc., in the same cabinet(cupboard) as her pots, pans, and plastic colanders. The other day I made spaghetti, and I swear I could taste the Daz (a popular laundry detergent brand).

Now, one could say that it was just my mum-in-law's propensity for scents, but I've noticed that folks are far more likely to have an air freshener in their car. In fact, there was this interesting gadget in the car we bought that had some air freshening liquid and a vent, and it attaches to the air vent. When I mentioned all this about scents and the English to my husband, he said in heavy dialect, "It's 'a drains, idnit John". (Yes, mum-in-law actually has drain freshener.)

Truly I don't know why all these scents are needed. If you watch the sky here you'll literally see the weather change, in remarkable contrast to the climate in California. The clouds blow across the sky so rapidly, you can watch the fronts come in, and you feel like you're looking at a weather map. Smells, smoke, pollution**, it all just blows off the island. So things aren't particularly smelly*.

And when it comes to the laundry, there's the added freshening aspect of hanging the laundry out to dry. It gets blown around(about) so thoroughly, most of the scent of a detergent is gone by the time you get the clothes in from the line. Maybe that's why the scents are so heavy, so there's still some left after hanging outside.

But getting back to the line: I find myself watching the weather forecast to determine when to do washing. It's a little odd. Oh, yes, we can hang things inside, but there isn't a whole lot of room. And it's true we used a clothesline in California, but it wasn't necessary to check the forecast from May to October. Here you pin(peg) laundry(washing) up, and take it down, and pin the same damp things up again. With all the blowing and the moister air, the clothes come out much softer. Heck, there was so little wind in California, we rarely used clothespins(clothespegs), and the clothes were crispy in an hour.

I think I'll become quite the weather forecast aficionado - it'll make up for not having The Weather Channel.

*garbage collection is only every 2 weeks in this area, which means in the summer months, the bin gets pretty darn smelly
**much to the chagrin of the surrounding nations


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