The View From My Apartment 6
Why is pine the smell of clean? I think its an interesting question. And frankly, I have no idea. My wife wanted me to make up an answer and hope I would fool all of you kind people out there who read this blog. I briefly considered it…I did. But then I didnt come up with any good answer. Other than this…
Because it smells better than coffee. Because it smells better than tomato. Because it smells better than a lot of other things.
We associate the smell of clean being something different that the smell of dirty.
They COULD invent soap that had no smell whatsoever. A completely odorless soap that does the job just as well. And they have for laundrybecause certain people are allergic to the chemical smells they add to the detergent.
But who would want to clean their kitchen counters and floors with a soap that had no smell? No one, I would guess.
Who wants to spend all that time cleaning their house and have it smell exactly as it did before? How would you know that you accomplished anything? Sure, the socks are off the floor but if the joint smells the same, what does it matter? No one likes the smell of dirty, no matter how clean it looks.
Personally, and Im sure Im not alone, and I know this wont be a huge admission to my parents, Im not a huge fan of cleaning. Now, I dont live in filth, I live in disorganization. (Unless we talk about my booksthen we are talking organized.) I admit to a certain amount of chaos. And as the law of Thermodynamics teaches us: if you want to fight chaos, then you have to put energy into it.
So, when we clean, we put a lot of energy into it. And I believe we want to know without a doubt that we have cleaned. True, we can see it. But in this day and age where video can be manipulated, who is possibly going to believe their eyes? So, we want to see and smell it. We want to smell clean.
Of course, now there are products that give you that smell of clean without actually having to clean! Fabreeze. Whats the point of Frabreeze? Oh, thats rightit just makes things smell clean. You dont actually HAVE to clean, just spray it on those dirty, smelly shoes, and voila! Its like clean.
Theres a Frabreeze commercial where a mom is going through her sons roomor very butch daughterand she finds a huge mess in the closet, including dirty sneakers. Whats the solution? Spray Frabreeze on it and its just like being clean.
And maybe thats what bugs me about Fabreeze. It takes all the smell out of clean, and just gives you the smell.
It feels hallow. It feels empty. I hate that. Do we really want less? Do we only want ease? What about substance?
I feel like we already live in a time where substance is losing ground. TV, Novels, Film, Musicthey have always had their lighter fair, but it feels like the lighter fair is more and more important to people. For Gods sake, why do we care about pictures of Tom Cruises baby? Why is it on main stream network news? I feel like now more than ever bubble gum literature and easy movies receive praise.
Who wants to be challenged? Who wants to have to question their lives and what they do in the Universe?
Im not arguing for the total elimination of all escapists stories. I love my summer blockbuster, I do. But, I try to balance it out. I dont think I can go see a movie like Mission Impossible 3 to help understand my life. I go see movies like Little Miss Sunshine.
But…just as a question…do people want to know, to want learn, want to challenge themselves? Is there a point to art? To storytelling? Do people want substance?
Or would they prefer to just spray Fabreeze on it?