Saturday, July 24, 2010

Then how should I begin to spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?


What a week, dear reader. I smashed my laptop screen into a million pieces saving one of my kittens from a terrible kettle-related burn, got thrown to the wolves at work after the most useless training I've ever been through, pulled my neck, and just generally felt exhausted and used up. I'm glad to get out of the house, and the work I am doing is passably interesting but not an area of passion for me, but it's hard to spend the bulk of your time at something you don't enjoy all that much. I just keep reminding myself that at least I have a job and can pay my loans....and have a little left over at the end of the day for things like dinners out, weekend trips to the coast, and, of course, perfume.

Speaking, as we so often do, about perfume: Thank god I have it. There have been days this week where the sole motivating factor for a given half hour is the combination of a quick browse through my traveling sample tin, the well-timed gentle waft of the scent I'm wearing that day, and the careful calculation of hour much of any given perfume I could get my hands on in exchange for that lost hour. Prufrock measured out his life in coffee spoons; I measure mine out in millimeters of scent. Is it perfume from a dress, that makes me so digress? Oh, how often it is.

It's funny how people can change your life. I don't see nearly as much of Angela as I might like, but she truly changed my life for the better with this perfume business. It's possible, given the way life is, that we might eventually lose track of one another all together (sad, but true), and yet I suspect that her influence on me will be present until the day I leave this life; maybe even longer. I have to believe that, when I'm gone, someone will treasure all the perfume I will inevitably leave behind. Someone will pass a woman wearing something lovely, and find themselves thinking of me. As someone who wonders, probably more than is appropriate, about what happens after, it's nice to think that the impression I leave on this earth may be a beautifully scented one. Like a truly well made perfume, it will persist long after my literal presence in the moment has passed, blooming out in my wake in gentle, graceful waves, coloring the earth and the lives of the people around me.

Like the sixteen year-old boy who once introduced me to Prufrock and Eliot's other beautiful works, I will never truly be able to tell Angela, or any of you who love perfume and write so beautifully and love this scented life as much as I do, how much you mean to me. You make me laugh. You make me cry. You make me think. You make me think about what art is, and what choices and values create a life worth living, and what material items are worth taking on the journey, and so much more. How emotion or memory can change or be expressed through art or sensory perception. How globalization, for all its flaws and failures also means that we find each other with people who can share our lives in ways those around us do not understand, how we can come to love one another's presence on this earth without ever meeting face to face. How life, even in tragedy and tedium, can also be beautiful.

For all this, and so much more, I thank you, dear reader. And I thank every one who has ever made or loved or, hell, even purchased, perfume.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean.

~ "Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," T.S. Eliot

2 comments:

Ines said...

This was so lovely! You put into words what we all feel. I've been through some hard times lately and the fact that I go around and smell my wrists all the time has helped deal with some of that - it just makes my heart calmer. At the moment I just don't seem to be able to put what I'm smelling into words but that doesn't mean I'm not wafting something wherever I go. :)

Diana said...

Hang in there Ines. What is it they say, "This, too, shall pass"? I think I prefer Churchill: "If you're going through hell, keep going." Not that it's been hell on my end, just very.very. irritating.

For my part, I'll be sending good thoughts your way and will be here there to read whatever you have to say when you feel more like it.