The Inappropriate Response to Reality

I have never felt more superficial than when I sprayed on some Safran Troublant this morning. I wanted to scream at myself, “12 people dead, 50 others wounded, and all you can think about is perfume?” I wrote this post for those of you who are feeling the same things today. For those that are ashamed to find themselves seeking comfort after an overwhelming tragedy.

Sci-fi author Philip K. Dick once wrote, “The appropriate response to reality is to go insane.” Don’t you dare. I have seen crazy, and I did not like it. Whatever you have to do to stay sane in the face of this terrifying world, do it. If praying helps, do it. If writing helps, do it. And if perfume helps, do it. It’s not superficial. It’s survival.

22 thoughts on “The Inappropriate Response to Reality

  1. Oh, you have no idea how this hits home with me. I lost my physical therapist and friend, who brought me back to life physically, and to some extent motionally, to a hit and run driver last weekend. I did not want to go to therapy, I did not want to have that accident, I did not want to be in pain! This man did not let me slide, did not give up on me through the hard workouts for me, we became friends. We would laugh and joke and I looked forward to these sessions! I am devastated, and more so his famly. I have the little photo/motto that says Stay Perfumed and Carry On! I cannot tell you how madly I have been spritzing this week. And looking for a special candle, something, to give to his girlfriend, as my friend knew how much I love fragrance. I had sent to her some samples on her birthday, I did not know her, but wanted to share their happiness on a special day. He was thrilled I had thought of her. Now, I continue to do so, in the way that is special to me, through fragrance!

    1. What an incredibly thoughtful and generous way to honor your friend, Judith. I’m sure that his girlfriend will be beyond thankful. Perfume can be so meaningful.

      1. Ari, I have it narrowed down. Just thinking about the perfect gift that meant something to me, to give to her, gave me some relief from this grief! I had seen him Saturday am, we were joking, I hugged him tight and thanked him for all he had done for me! He said Thank You! I said, huh? He said that I made him look good. So, as I went downstairs, without cast, braces, walker or cane I told him, Well, at least I am good for something! I totally trusted him, he was never more than a bit of space away, he was not going to let me fall (again). Any gift HAS to be fragrance! And a candle to keep his flame alive for just a while longer! Going back on Monday, going to be hard!

  2. Thanks Ari. We all need comfort in the face of this sometimes crazy world. You can’t help others if you don’t keep yourself in balance. I always need reminders of this.

  3. I got a chance to sleep in today and had the day off, so I only recently heard about this on the news. In a way, I expected another shooting at some point. It almost seems like a part of our society, even though it’s horrific and so sad. As for feeling guilty, angry, or sad… I always tell people we do what we can to get by some days. It makes me want to hold everyone a little more, maybe call people I haven’t talked to in awhile.

  4. The shooter was a graduate student at my institution. I did not know him. His apartment was booby trapped and my labs were evacuated a few hours ago so bomb dogs could search the place. He worked on my friend’s floor, and they’re looking there right now. Everyone I know is OK, but we’re all shook up. I know people who live across the street from his apartment and I park there everyday. My perfume today is my first good perfume: Chance by Chanel. It’s a comfort to have a bit of normalcy.

    1. Jenn, Chance was my very first perfume too. I’m so, so glad to hear that you and your friends are all okay. This is so scary and horrible.

  5. The CEO was teaching at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007. This is all so horribly, horribly familiar.

    You’re so right: the only appropriate response to reality is to do whatever you can to spread a little grace around, even if you’re only capable at the moment of giving it to yourself. Perfume, music, food, hugs, sharing your plenty with those who don’t have it… it’s all good.

  6. Knowing that there is pain, we sometimes think we have no right to feel pleasure. Or even to be without pain. But our turn will always come. “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

    Good for you and good for Safran Troublant.

  7. I have been experiencing an involuntary withdrawal from perfume, I do not know exactly why, a clash with reality might be the reason. Yesterday was a weird day. I read the news of the shooting myself and a few hours later I experienced another devastating story which was very personal. The guy who lived next door, alone since his mother died, was discovered dead by the police. They had to break into his house through my balcony. He had been dead for several days. And I couldn’t help but wonder what was I doing on the other side of the wall as he was dying. Getting on with my life I suppose… Could I have done something? Probably not but who knows… Weird day!

  8. The news of this hit the newspapers here in Sweden the same weekend as the newspapers are covering the one year memorial of the shootings at Utoya in Norway.
    I don’t know if I can take watching the memorial service on television tonight.
    You’re so right Ari, one have to use what works to stay sane in this world.

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