That Scent

There’s that scent, the one that’s in my hair after every AA meeting. It’s a musky balance of drug store perfume, coffee, and lightly curried cauliflower. No matter what meeting I go to, or how many people are there, I come home with this unmistakable blend over my entire body. Tonight I attended an AA conference committee meeting; there were 12 people in the boardroom. Surely, I thought, I won’t come home with the scent. I think you know how this story ends.

In my university days, “the tiptoe into alcoholism” as I like to call it, a night spent drinking and dancing at the bars resulted in smoky hair. For 2 days, or 4 shampoos (whichever came first), my hair would reek of tobacco. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t a smoker – spending 4 hours in an airtight, ventless building surrounded by thick, thick smoke was enough to leave you smelling like an ashtray for days.

I’m on a mission to find the source of this AA scent. Is it a regional scent? Do meetings in other provinces smell differently? Perfume smells differently on different people, as it reacts uniquely with each person’s own chemistry. Is this scent that I’m identifying my body’s chemical reaction to AA? If it is, I think my body’s saying “pee-yew” to AA.

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