If you could smell a city

I went shopping at a big department store the other day. I was strolling along, minding my own business, content with all the food I got – because, duh, food is life and we should all be happy about it – until I registered something really interesting near the checkout line.  Turns out that store brand had made a series of shower gels named after cities. Of course, I was instantly interested.

Thankfully, they only had four, though I could only do my weird smelling on two of them. Sadly, the line at the register was moving and I had to stick to acceptable behaviour, contrary to my arbitrary consumer tendencies to fill my nasal pathways with said smell till morning. Otherwise I would have most definitely spend at the very least 20 long minutes sniffing deeply at random bottles near the cash register, looking like the downright weirdo I sure am. So what did I do instead to avoid the creepiness? Well, of course I took a sniff at every single one of them.   Curious soul that I am, I couldn’t help it. Good thing they were not cakes – that would have definitely gained a pound or two in the span of 20 minutes.

First up was New York, of course. They couldn’t have skipped it. For me, it didn’t quite do the trick. It smelled a bit… odd. Like smog and overcrowdedness in a bottle; they’d blended a bit of some fruity scent in there too, though. I’ve never been there, but judging from that bottle, I guess it’s not all bad.

However, I liked San Francisco better – it smelled like a beach, like sunrise and sunset at the same time ; like wild flowers and innovative thinking for some reason. Sweet, shiny, positive. The kind of place I could picture myself being at, if only I’d somehow start hating carbs.

So what followed from that wild encounter? Being the idiot I am, of course the inevitable thing to do following that warm fuzzy feeling I got was to think: if somebody were to bottle the scent of the city I live in – the city of Sofia, what would that smell like? I, for one, know I most likely wouldn’t have bathed with it. Though contrary to the smell of road rage insults we’d put there, we’d also include a scent of the beautiful Vitosha mountains; and along with the frowny faces of streetwalking Bulgarians, we’d also put a little of the happiness of crowds gathering for a friendly dinner at one of the little suburban restaurants. At seeing as it’s Christmas time as I’m writing this, we’d definitely have to put a little of the Bulgarian Christmas spirit: the “let’s get drunk off our faces and eat till our guts burst” part , along with the heartfelt joy, the happiness and warm-heartedness we radiate to our loved ones and the genuine smiles to everyone we know. Because we are assholes sometimes, but we have big hearts, and this time of the year, they shine the brightest.