I’m a stranger to myself. Even writing this now I wonder if I’m not a deplorable narcissist? My shrink Sherry years ago praised my powers of discernment, even if she did fall asleep during our sessions. She said I could trust myself.
My recent query involves an incident of perception. It started with a sample of Agarwood. About a month ago, I was involved in a blind oud test with samples labeled A-H. I was certain “E” was sexiest most an unusual oud I had ever beheld. Yet when it arrived I recognized nothing about it. It wasn’t reminiscent of any of the samples from the blind.
It brought back memories of my mother suddenly not knowing me. Holidays, gifts, and destinations called off because of her bad girl. Disneyland revoked. Mother didn’t reward bad behavior. After mother married again we had Thanksgiving. But there had to be witnesses for us to celebrate and documentation that it really happened. I wanted a Christmas tree. BUT we were Jewish she said. When I got older I learned to negotiate and I asked for a Hanukkah bush. My mother wouldn’t subscribe, not even to hiding the cash of Hanukkah gelt. Our tradition was that my mother would demonize me and then rebound and I was her beloved Cicci-pie and best friend once again.
BUT now I wonder did any of that really happen? Maybe it was the other way around and suddenly I didn’t recognize her?
If you don’t know Agarwood it’s one of the most quixotic mysterious substances. The ancients used it to fumigate on special occasions. They added it to their drunken temple Kyphi incense made with wine and raisins. It is sometimes used as an ingredient in perfumery, but tricky because it over powers and alters everything in it’s wake.
So ridiculously rare it engenders a gambit of malfeasance including hold ups, poaching, murder, and forgeries. Unscrupulous scammers have become proficient at painting fine wood grains, then staining, even stapling smaller chunks together or gluing and then adding drops of oud oil. SOLD to the most deserving neophyte that travels to Singapore or Vietnam, or hazards a purchase on the internet.
I try to not to judge. To have a healthy respect for the fallibility of memory in general, false confessions, facial recognition. But my nose how could it be so off? I was taught by one patient sensei that the nose is the most trustworthy in the morning. That diet, hormones, placement, locale, weather, even sanity play a role in what the nose knows. I thought I understood, but this experience of bliss, and then to have it utterly altered the next time?
Anyone might grow an Aquilaria Sinensis in the right region, but that won’t produce oud. I considered myself lucky and bought seeds. I have so many requisite sick trees. But that’s not enough, because not only does the tree have to be sick and infected, but a particular antibody has to begin healing the tree before it renders it’s oud.
Sometimes it smells like gasoline, other times like incense, leather, and musk, it takes you on a ride. Changeling oud, and the variables are infinite beyond region and distiller. My first trip was tangerine and it went on from for hours. I didn’t believe my friend Rhonda when she said it was just oud, let it speak to you.
I accused POWDERNOSE not directly of course, the man in charge of running the blind trial. He must have swapped the bottles on purpose. I had made myself such a nuisance on the OUDADDICT forum, now now the other esteemed oud forum wouldn’t even allow the privlege of participation. Not even a thumbs up. The correlation had to be there, to drum me out, because I had written a less than positive review on a particular oud and evidently you just aren’t supposed to do that. It had to be a conspiracy. Right? He was the enforcer what else could it be? Isis?
I’ve always tried to bless my dalliances with paranoia. Appreciate it’s companionship to my loneliness. We in solitary find consolation in being hated. But of course nobody has that much time or cares. Should I apologize to Powdernose for what he doesn’t know? I can’t tell him it won’t happen again. I’ve read about it and there doesn’t seem to be a cure for paranoid disorders.
I lose my face more often now it seems and it’s getting worse. In roughly five years a triplicate of curtain jowls is preordained. The bottom of half of my face dropping, pulling over my cowl neck. My father the last time I saw him had developed into a handsome turtle, but he hid from me. I was no longer his daughter. He disowned me.
The Japanese listen to incense. Agarwood unfolds, unveiling itself over time. I will try again, maybe alter the amount of application. Try the other wrist. Wait a month. I forget it’s not a perfume, starting with tops notes that dissipates and dry down almost as quickly as you become aware. Top notes must be cradled with the heart-notes. To give them more than just short term memory.