Do you ever drive around with your car windows open? If not, it's something I highly recommend. I've been letting the breeze into the car lately except when it's unbearably hot and I've noticed that I can almost navigate by odor alone.
On the way to work I pass:
- A factory that produces tins of popcorn. I can usually tell if it's caramel, butter or cheese flavored on a given day.
- A fertilizer plant. It has a sharp, nitrogenous tang that's unmistakable.
- A coffee roasterie. Our town has two of them, actually, and I can smell both of them at different points along the highway. Sometimes I think I could get a caffeine buzz just from the aroma.
On my way home from work, I notice:
- A soap factory. On certain days, I can even tell what brand of soap they're making.
- Cedar shingles. There's a roofing company near the highway, and the air nearby smells like the inside of a cedar closet.
To say nothing of the more random nice smells, such as freshly-mowed grass, someone's backyard barbecue, or a sweet-scented flowering bush or tree.
I've read that women of childbearing age have a significantly more developed sense of smell than men or post-menopausal women. That's definitely true in my case - I have the sense of smell of a wild animal. It's a wonder I can live in a house with four cats without running away screaming. On the other hand, I worked for more than seven years at a printing company, inhaling ink fumes every day, and didn't even notice the smell except when I came back from long vacations. But I digress...
So anyway, try the open-windows commute tonight and see what you notice in the air. It might provide you with an interesting new perspective.