Summer has been exercising her right to stick around until the equinox, keeping Autumn at bay with the sunshine and high temperatures that we've come to expect here for the first week of classes. Housed in the "poor cousins" building that Arts & Humanities seem so often to be confined to these days, we have no air-conditioning and I have to speak loudly to my sun-drowsy students for them to hear me over the fans, installed as an afterthought, an exercise in positive thinking, whirring away to stir the warm air around. The classroom's wall of windows face into the afternooon sun, so we open the four small panes, all directly above the daycare building's adjoining play-yard. The children's squeals and screams and giggles compete with me for my students' ears. By the end of an afternoon, Summer and I are not on good terms.
Still, it's lovely to hop on the ferry after work, ride it to Vancouver (it's the end of my first teaching week), into Horseshoe Bay where all the boats nestled against the mountains are dabbed golden by the evening's sunlight.
And where's the perfume, Mater? Your title says something of perfume. . . .
Here's the connection, then. In Amsterdam, I was trying out a new perfume, having grabbed a few of those small sample vials that Hermès sometimes gives out -- they seemed a good solution to the problem of fitting everything into my carry-on liquids limitation. I wasn't sure whether I thought Eau de Merveilles was for me, but there was enough in the tiny spritzer that I wore it for five or six days. And one of those days was in the Rijksmuseum.
I was interspersing the Eau de Merveilles days with days wearing perfume from other tiny vials, so the five or six days were spread out enough that we were in Bordeaux, perhaps even in Paris, 3 or 4 weeks later, when I put the last few drops of this perfume on my wrists, my neck. And immediately, I felt myself back on the wooden floors of that grand old Amsterdam Building. I could sense its particular light, remember the creak of a certain stairway, call up a charming conversation I had with a surprisingly knowledgeable security person. The scent flashed a huge painting of a swan in front of me, countless still lifes, particularly ones I had lingered in front of marvelling at their depiction of ancient leather-bound books.
So I bought my own bottle of this magic potion at the Charles de Gaulle Airport, then carried it through the Amsterdam airport where we transferred between planes -- thus not only did Amsterdam inspire my purchase, but the bottle itself has spent time in Amsterdam, polishing up its provenance. It's an intriguingly subtle scent -- I'm not experienced in describing perfumes, but I find it dry and crisp, with some peppery notes and only the slightest hint of floral, a wisp of citrus, something almost ocean-salty. It verges on the unisex, which suits me fine, Terre d'Hermès--a man's perfume-- being another favourite of mine.
Today, though, I'm switching it up, the perfume currently in our Vancouver apartment being an old summer favourite, Lancôme's O.
Tell me, would you, what histories your perfume carries, if you wear one (or two, or seven . . . )? How much importance does the scent's associations bear in your daily decision of what to spray?
And may your Friday move quickly, and may it deliver you to a happy weekend!