Smell is my strongest memory sense. I know that isn’t uncommon, but it never ceases to amaze me how I can smell something I haven’t smelled in 20 years and be instantly transported back to that moment. One of my strongest smell memories is my kindergarten classroom. About a year ago I was at the store, and a woman walked by who smelled like kindergarten, and I wanted TO CRY. I had to stop myself from following her around. I sort of regret not having the guts to ask her what perfume she was wearing, because it must have been the same one my kindergarten teacher wore. Laundry detergents and colognes of former friends and boyfriends will knock me over emotionally as I catch a whiff of them passing me in the mall. I love the smell of FAMILIARITY. The smell of Soft & Dry deodorant makes me want to rest my head on my grandmother’s chest and hug her tightly. She died when I was nine, but I will never forget her scent.
This is getting sadder than I expected! Moving right along …
FOOD. Food smells are some of my favorites. Popcorn at the movie theater, peppers and onions cooking on the stove, the smell of a pizza in the car, making the air taste spicy, as you drive it home fighting the urge to consume it RIGHT. THEN. (Side note: Matt used to deliver pizza, and his car smelled like it for about an entire year. I can’t even begin to describe the outright torture that was.) I love the smell of Thanksgiving: the turkey roasting in the oven, apple pie cooling on the window sill, yeasty bread dough rising on the counter, cranberry sauce plopping out of the can (shut it, best cranberry sauce EVER.)
CLEAN. I love clean, fresh scents. Clean laundry, clean babies, clean toilets, clean husbands … You’d think this would make me clean more often, but no. This extends to the smell of anything NEW. My mom and I both love the smell of a brand new Cabbage Patch doll or sneakers right out of the box. Shoe stores smell AMAZING to me, with all the leather and fake leather and rubber and shoe polish. I love the smell of my own hair after a new haircut, fresh with the scent of an unfamiliar conditioner and 24 different hair products.
BOOKS. OF COURSE, right? And it’s the smell that makes me love taking them out of the library more than buying them in a store. They always smell like the last home they visited. Reading a book and knowing someone else’s eyes drifted over those same words, smelling their home, their life, saved there on the pages … it makes the entire experience of reading the book something special. Don’t get me wrong; I love the smell of a brand new book, but there is no history behind it. Nothing is saved there for me beyond the fresh ink and glue.
MISCELLANY. Right now my favorite smell is burying my face in Roo’s stinky little neck. It’s so SO stinky, but it’s the cutest kind of stinky I’ve ever smelled. My brother and I must share the same sense of smell, because we have assigned names to smells that no one else seems to understand, like the smell of a SNEEZE. We get a lot of sideways glances from other people when this happens, but we just have to smile, because it’s not their fault they’re so much less AWESOME than we are.
So what are your favorite smells and smell memories? And do you know what a SNEEZE smells like?