Smelling my way through the store.

There is a myth that when you lose your vision, your other senses get heightened. It’s bullshit.


I’ve become keenly aware of the things that I already knew but never thought about before, like smells. From scents to odors we have an incredible olfactory vocabulary and memory. This isn’t really news. There have been tons of studies showing how certain smells can trigger memories and emotions. Casino owners and real estate agents have known this for years.

But it works in little ways, too.

Recently I traveled around North Texas. At one point in my trip my plans changed twice in one day. Short version: I was 100 miles from my luggage and alone at the intersection of a highway I’d heard of and one I haven’t. Luckily, at this intersection was a Target. (Thank you, iPhone!)

I wandered inside and my pupils slammed shut. The circle I view the world through shrank and got blurry. Great timing. At least I wasn’t crossing the highway again.

I needed deodorant, toothpaste, a toothbrush, and a change of clothes.

I walked around, and then I smelled it. The feminine hygiene isle. That isle has a distinctive scent. Similar to (but not the same as) the Baby Needs isle. Then there’s shampoos! I was getting closer! Then, boom, deodorant. I felt like Toucan Sam.

Just follow your nose! It always knows!

Toothpaste and toothbrushes were right around the corner. I didn’t have as good of luck smelling my way through the men’s department, but I figured three out of four ain’t bad and my ride will be here soon.

I paid for my bounty, made my way outside and found a bench. When my friend arrived he BUSTED out laughing because – apparently – the bench I found was right in front of an eye clinic and the people working inside looked unthrilled. (Oops! HA!!)

Since then, I’ve been smelling my way through the grocery store. Pet food, auto parts, school/office supplies, even canned goods have a smell. And the weird part is: I already knew that.

I’ve even gotten my wife to stop in the middle of the sidewalk to catch a scent on the wind. It’s a fun way to find new restaurants and I highly recommend it to everyone – including the sighted.

Screw Yelp! Just follow your nose.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Must say my sense of smell or as you say the awareness of it has increased immensely as i have lost my sight.


  2. Posted by Anonymous on February 14, 2014 at 5:57 am

    Thank you for writing a blog about blindness/low vision that has some humor! Most of the blogs on this topic that I have encountered are just too serious or downright depressing!


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