Tilt: How I Became An Environmental Indicator Like The Honeybees
Being On “Tilt”
When I began to physically react to smells that are imperceptible and un-bothersome to most, I started to scratch my head with confusion. Was I mutating? Yes, I had developed super nasal powers years ago after a near-death experience (more on that later), but never before in my 43 years had I been perturbed by a waiter leaning down to refill my glass of water. His mainstream cologne was offensive. He may as well have punched me. I certainly wanted to punch him.
When living in Los Angeles, I managed to live a relatively toxin-free life. But in unfamiliar Greece, the poisons I encountered were out of my control. Here are some of the wacky encounters that made me fear I was becoming a bubble girl.
- I was speed walking through the polluted city center of Athens, when I found myself repeatedly bristling at the vexing smell of car exhaust. As I held my breath and covered my nose with my tank top, my gaze fell upon a toddler in a stroller across the street. He was completely unfazed, as was his mother. In fact, no one else in the streets seemed to be disturbed by the smells. How could this be? Later, when I researched the air quality in the region, I learned that I was actually detecting and reacting to high concentrations of toxic particles, as well as photochemical smog linked to excessive nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and organic nitrates.
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