Vick’s VapoRub

After the medicinal blast of camphor, the brrrrr rush of cold. This is a chilling, contracting smell, punching back the walls of a cave to make more space for itself. A cold, dark atrium where small bats have been roused and can suddenly fly free. The effect is bracing in the same way a slap might wake you up from a doze – you’re awake alright, but you’re not that grateful for it. Perhaps if the result were more gradual it would be more welcome?

I’m a little feverish, sore throat, headachy, a little grumpy. The camphor smell of the Vick’s serves to intensify, not soothe, these feelings, since the only time I seek it out is when I’m feeling exactly this way. It’s a reverse feedback loop – I know I’ll feel better eventually, but the smell reminds me of the fact that I don’t feel very good right now.

About Samantha

Samantha Soma is an erstwhile aromatherapist, collects vintage and modern perfumes, and is in love with the sense of smell. She lives in the Northwest, which means that books, coffee, wine, beer, and humidity play large roles in her personal experience.
This entry was posted in bodycare, herbal, made by humans. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Vick’s VapoRub

  1. Bill says:

    but the smell reminds me of the fact that I don’t feel very good right now

    Exactly. Just the smell reminds me of being 8 or 9 and my mom putting it on my chest. T-shirt to cover it up. Tucked into bed. Camphor = “I’m sick.”

    I love “smell of the day.”

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