Wake Up and Smell the Almond Lotion

One thing I like to do when I randomly suspect that I may have COVID is reach over and take a big whiff of lotion.

This one‘s a big favorite, smelling like almond oil. It also comes in a teensy little container that is perfect for your purse and also perfect for obsessively slathering on your cuticles while nervously watching your daughter’s volleyball tournament. I once went through almost the entire container in the Before Times. Remember that happy, anticipatory stress of watching your kids perform in a group session? Ah, good times.

Speaking of lovely lotions that also can dispel your immediate fear of a COVID diagnosis, I love this Honeysuckle Body Butter, which is locally produced by Sweet Sprig and creamy and makes me smell like I am a blooming garden.

I love florals. Part of me worries that my obsession with flowery smells will cause me to smell like a very old lady, and so I avoid rose, even though I like it, for that exact reason. But also, what the hell? I’ll be a very old lady eventually (knock on wood!), so why not get my Signature Scent down now?

The first thing I did this morning was reach for my lotion and sniff it. I’d had a nightmare full of unbelievably ordinary, this-could-totally happen horrors. In the dream I got COVID, natch, as did the rest of my family, and just for fun we had a baby visiting who was likely infected, too. Then I picked up my phone to call, I don’t know, a helpline, and I accidentally called friends who were contacts in my phone and who I knew sounded like people I liked, but I couldn’t remember for sure, and so I couldn’t make any small talk beyond, “How are you guys doing?” and “It’s been forever!” . . . after which I wondered, “Has it been forever? Probably. We never see anyone these days,” all while I was listening to their expectant breathing through the receiver as they wondered what prompted the call and I scrambled for something else to say. Then I gave up and headed to the computer, but I couldn’t remember the log-in information and I sat there puzzling at the computer monitor when I noticed a young kid hanging over my shoulder to see the monitor, too, and he was super, super annoying and I was trying to be kind, but also, why were random people hanging over me when I had COVID? And then I realized that a woman was on the floor trying to sort through a massive chaotic pile of three or four different play sets and I was like, “I will help you clean up these toys, but then you need to take them and leave and take all the kids who aren’t mine with you.”

I was relieved to wake up and smell the almond lotion, so to speak, to remind myself that all of my petty horrors had been a dream. Cute W and I both gave blood yesterday, and it was the slowest and least organized drive that either one of us has ever attended, and I think the anxiety of lingering inside with so many strangers for so long just got to me. I mean, I’ve already canceled a haircut because I was scared of lingering indoors with random people, but I’d decided that blood donation was a Civic Good, which is a nice thing to do when society is imploding, and I had bargained that blood donors are more science-respecting and conscientious than salon patrons. Still, it was an unnerving number of people. I am really looking forward to a hopefully-not-so-distant future in which most of us have vaccines and we can all have fewer nightmares.


  1. Claire

    Do you like the flavor of almond as well as the smell? I use almond extract a lot in baking; I put it in frosting–both chocolate and white–, brownies, even sugar cookie dough. Delish!

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