I was talking with a colleague at work last week about which of the senses we would prefer to lose (not including touch). It’s a really hard question!
If we include seeing, hearing, tasting and smelling then my gut reaction is to pick smelling. People can and do live happily without a sense of smell. But then I thought about it some more.
I would miss out on the wonderful lemon and lime aroma of my morning shower gel that really wakes me up and makes me feel alive. I’d miss the comforting smell of lavender, that picks me up and gives me a cuddle. Oranges smell like Christmas, but I would never again be blindsided by somebody eating one nearby. And that amazing moment when you smell the aftershave of the sexy guy walking past and it makes your nerve endings tingle? I don’t want to give that up!
So I thought about taste. Do I need that? Is it essential? The answer to those questions is of course ‘no’, but do I want it? My colleague knows somebody who lost their sense of taste some time ago. They go out for meals with family and friends but don’t enjoy the experience any more. I can’t imagine that, getting to a fancy restaurant and browsing the menu, wondering what to have as it all sounds so tasty – then the realisation that I could have a soup bowl of dirty dishwater and never know the difference.
I love food. And I mean LOVE food. I can’t imagine not bring able to taste it. What would be the point of eating?
Ok then, I suppose that brings me to hearing. Never hearing music again? Not hearing my daughter’s voice? No more going to gigs and getting totally swept away by it all? I don’t think I could willingly give that up. Music has been my constant companion without which my life would feel empty.
So that leaves sight. Losing your sight makes you very dependant on another person or thing. I think I would be too terrified to do anything, scared to go out because I don’t know what’s out there. Or who is out there. I spend most of my free time reading or writing. I know I could learn Braille, and a lit of books are made into audio books now, so I suppose there is a work-around for it. I just don’t think I could shake the feeling of isolation and helplessness.
After all that if I had to make a decision I suppose I would go for losing my sense of smell. But I would miss it. So, so much.