Her amazing wail answers her earlier question: What if your own skin makes your skin crawl? Well, maybe you try and turn those feelings into something. Like, say, write and record a terrifically moving song called “Fiya” in your living room. You’ll feel a little better. And then those of us who understand those shitty feelings can sit around and listen to “Fiya”, and we’ll feel better too. That’s what the intimacy of home-recorded music is all about.
For the last few weeks, alone in his apartment, the man has been watching what of Mad Men there is on Netflix. At one point, one character says to Don Draper something like, “What it all boils down to is: what we want versus what’s expected of us.”
First thing, the light in the blinds is gray not gold. It’s dull not bright. The air later is wet. Leaves on the ground have no crunch to them. Leaves on the branches curl inward.
The man is chronically forgetful. Last night, the man forgot to charge his phone. Shortly before work today, the man realizes his phone isn’t charged enough to last him the whole day. He plugs his phone in—and then wonders if he’ll remember to retrieve it later, on his way out the door.
The man’s desk sits in the back room of his apartment. The desk is a thing well-built. He keeps his laptop there, and uses the laptop daily; which is to say, he uses the well-built desk daily, and likes the desk. It has a nice glass top. Its seven drawers each have a sweet heavy smell, and glide quietly in and out. He actually keeps things organized inside the desk. The man likes the desk.
The man once left some money counted out on the desk, and a visiting woman had folded seven dollars of it into shapes.
Set up a place for the human to come in and feed. When it arrives for its feeding, greet it with another human.
But you got to admit!
Guy won’t shut up. Jesus.
Ah, that “Jeff smell”. This has remarkably little to do with showering routine and cleaning products, and almost everything to do with your personal sweat. In addition to water and electrolytes, sweat also contains small amounts of waste products, like urea, and smellier things like mercaptans easily pass through the skin. So diet plays a role, natural bacteria in the gut and on the skin play a role, organ health plays a role, density of apocrine glands, percentage of sugar in sweat (which, in turn, allows for increased growth of yeasts which produce their own smell), degree of keratin production (mostly because this can plug pores), natural hormones, and natural pheromones, among other things. Obviously, frequency of bathing will diminish the scents on people, and perfuming plays some minor role, but if you recognize your friend’s scent on their pillow, for example, it’s mostly due to what I just wrote.
In addition to this, there is the influence of breath, which people don’t normally think about. There are a lot of reactive species that get exhaled that have a scent, many of which will linger in air, including ketones, alcohols, and volatile organic compounds. This isn’t even including situations of poor oral hygiene or stomach upset, the latter of which can smell like HCl or sulfur, depending on the nature of the problem.
Top comment (by indianola) responding to the /r/ELI5 thread, “How come all my friends’ houses and clothes have a distinct, separate smell?”
It’s not something I like to talk about at length, but sometimes I have suffered from pangs of what in lesser men probably leads to infidelity. I have looked at other people—pretty women, let’s admit—and wondered what it might be like to whatever. To whatever, and whatever, until whatever has whateverred, forever. I would say I’m not proud of having felt this way toward uncertain pretty folk, but then why not also add that many others have fared much worse? It just so happens that I feel these pangs and but also have the swell fortune of returning home (from them) to a woman who quite effortlessly nullifies them, and who brings me in their stead all manner of rather more specific joys. Comfort, let’s call them. Let’s lump the joys, all the specific joys, together and call them comfort.
Do you sometimes wonder if I incorporate themes? I sometimes wonder.
The best handling of themes is done subtly, so subtly as to seem natural, as though the world itself has handled them. Not the author. The world handles themes much more gracefully and ingeniously. The world is so much more committed. The world never gives up focusing on themes.
Themes arise. They don’t just “are.” They arise from out of careful telling and handling of stories or sets of stories. They arise from out of repetition and contrast. The best things in life don’t just “are,” but arise; and though they aren’t all “themes,” the best things, some definitely are.
But enough about their coming about, let’s just talk about them. Themes.
A peculiar spot of light is there, and then it isn’t. In some stories, this might mean something. In mine, I’m not quite sure. In mine, one’s mind leaps straight to the source of the light, through the wine glass and its wine, to the light bulb on the ceiling. Correction: light bulbs. Two adjoined at the fixture, hidden behind a convex square of frosted glass, two lights implied in blurred forms at odd angles to one another—as though there might sometimes be a third, but that third is not at present present. It’s a dull, misshapen ceiling to which the light bulbs are affixed.
But this won’t do. We’re still getting through the Clog.
Notice, though, the increased focus on forward momentum, and the incorporation of a clutch—no I mean a crutch—of a crutch: melody. Melifluousness. Fluousness.
The other day I had to explain, more than once, how to spell the word “unctuous” to a person. I also had to define it. I defined it thusly:
"It basically means oily. Or oil-like."
When it’s been awhile, I come back to the act of writing fully aware that whatever I’m about to put forth won’t be much good.
That sentence will do—but this one’s problematic.
Case in point.
Anyway, I know the best thing for me to do is to just start tugging away at what I perceive to be The Clog. There’s always a big hard boogery Clog whenever I come back after a long hiatus.