Welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly — I’ve been known to write on this blog about biryani, one of my favorite dishes to eat and one I am still learning to make! (If you have a great recipe for it, please share!). This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.
Today is March 13, and we are in full “social distancing” … what a difference one week makes! A week ago, we were in sunny Jamaica, which had not yet had any reported or confirmed cases of coronavirus (as of today, it has 8). So we took precautions and Lysol wipes, but we still went and had a wonderful time. And now I’m so glad we did, because this was a spring break trip organized by families in our son’s senior class, over 70 families went, our kids all had a marvelous time, and now they’re losing most of their spring activities, including the prom and probably graduation. All high school spring sports are suspended and may not resume, so yesterday may have been his last varsity game. I’m really happy that we were able to take him on the big senior trip with minimal risk (and happy to have seen Jamaica and supported its tourism, which is its economic lifeblood). I support the drastic measures schools and colleges are now taking. Sadly, though, we have had to cancel our anticipated family trip to Paris and France to celebrate his graduation from high school and our daughter’s graduation from college, both this spring.
The university where I work is one of many that has announced it will not resume onsite classes after its own spring break. Instead, it will extend students’ spring break for an extra week, it has told them to stay at home if they’re able to, and all classes will transition to remote learning. Presumably we employees are to use the extra week to figure out how to do that! In the meantime, staff are still expected to work onsite, but that’s okay because without students and faculty, our building is very quiet and near-empty, and we don’t have to gather in large groups. Clearly, this is the right thing to do if the US is to have any chance of slowing down the spread of this virus. And here’s my fragrance angle to all this: essential oils in a diffuser!
I already have an inexpensive diffuser in my office, because I handle students’ urgent situations and I like to use different combinations of soothing scents like lavender, chamomile, etc. so my office smells peaceful when I meet with them. I did a little research online and found that there is research suggesting that some essential oils, like tea tree oil, really do have anti-germ properties as well as smelling very nice. So I’m experimenting with blends that have names like “Germ Fighter” and “Immunity Defense”, and include some of those specific essential oils (such as clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus) and I’m adding a few drops of tea tree oil for my office diffuser. When I arrive in the morning, I spray my office with Lysol aerosol, then I turn on my diffuser. And voila, my office soon smells very nice! Brigitte, if you read this, please weigh in on your favorite essential oils!
Here’s another silver lining: I’ve realized I can experiment during the day with some of my stronger fragrances, because I’m not having many in-person meetings, and even fewer in groups larger than 2-3. Making lemonade out of lemons, and trying to do our share to stay healthy and help others stay healthy … How are you all faring in this age of coronavirus? My heart goes out especially to northern Italy, which we so enjoyed visiting last summer, and which is suffering such a severe outbreak and consequences.