Thursday, April 24, 2014


Evolutionary biologists argue that the brain is an outgrowth and extension of the sensory organs, perhaps more than the other way around. If our thoughts are formed from perception, imagine the nightmare Doctor Doolittle's fantasy would be, your world completely ruled by smells, food, and hormones. Oh yeah, college....

In no particular order, mostly without explanation. It's all about the associations.

Sounds and Smells I Like
  • Fresh cut grass. Of course. So we'll leave out the smell of cookies baking in the oven, the sea, and everything to do with my wife. Wind in the rigging, of course.
  • The sound of a sailboat hull ghosting and kayak paddles dipping rhythmically. 
  • Skis, biting hard.
  • Sunscreen, an obvious association.
  • An ice ax striking solid. The solid feel and deadening of vibration inside the shaft. Calms the nerves. Reminds me of adventures.
  • Construction sounds. I think it reassures me that the economy is alive and vital. IT makes it feel like morning. Yet I dislike the city.
  • Snow.
  • Rain.
  • Thunder... when not afloat. When afloat I pretend it doesn't exist.

Sounds and Smells I Hate
  • Whining. Of course. My cat. So well leave out the smell of automobile exhaust in tunnels, canned
    laughter, and a fox in heat at midnight.
  • The glop-pop sound an epoxy brush makes when you're 3/4s through the pot life. It must bring back subconscious memories of rushing to finish and fighting fiberglass that's sticking to the brush. Just like fingernails on a black board.
  • Halyards pinging while trying to sleep. Actually, even day time, when it grates at me like untied shoes. Non-sailors often find it romantic.
  • Seagulls, when I'm trying to concentrate. See "whining."
  • Most cooking smells, not counting baking. But I like to cook. Go figure.
  • "That's not my job" and all variations. See "whining."
  • "I haven't been trained." See "whining."
  • The ring of my phone. It means I'm going to interrupted by someone looking to make their problem into my problem. I don't mind the sound of your phone ringing--not my problem!
  • Loud sarcasm as a substitute for humor. It's boring and tiresome.
  • Cigarettes. Oddly, the smell is not so bad, but the notion that people are sucking down the smoke bugs me. I feel sorry for them.
  • Pipe. I don't mind the smell, but certain formulations trigger an ocular migraine that leaves me partially blind for an hour. Happened once, for no good reason, 2/3rds of the way up a trad 5.10c lead; I had to wait for it to subside since I couldn't see my hands.
  • Potpourri. See "pipe."
  • Coffee. See "pipe."


  1. The faint sweetness of fresh maple sap; links to the richness of the syrup hot from the filter. And my clothes smelling of the fire that boiled it down.

  2. All the smells and kayaking! It just must be something special. I love those adventures in nature!