Saturday, March 26, 2005

Smells

As I sat in downtown Decatur today, so many different smells assaulted, no approached my olfactory senses. Smells of food, smells of people, smells of industry, smells of animals, smells of who knows what. What is it about smells that take us back to distinct moments in time.
  • As I was sitting at Java Monkey, I smelled something, a perfume or someone's shampoo, or something that took me back to 305 Centennial Hall, 1995. It just smelled like our room, or the hallway, or something. Ryan, Renee, Colleen, and all the rest of the Towne Hall crowd. 305 Centennial Hall.
  • As I walked to the Decatur square, I smelled a perfume that made my mind conjure up an ex-girlfriend...one that was intoxicating, and who made me think, and who made my head spin. I was transported to 2122 Tugaloo Ave...sitting on the porch being told, "I just can't be anybody's girlfriend right now."...my head spinning with those words while being intoxicated by the perfume or the pheremones, I don't know which. 2122 Tugaloo Ave.
  • At truck stops, the smell of diesel takes me back to the cook truck, getting my snack after a performance with The Cavaliers. Standing there in khaki shorts, with my shirt off, wearing my gears, eating a PBJ or banana pudding or leftover lasagna and enjoying the caucaphony of sounds around me...horns playing melodies, drums playing "licks," flag poles and rifles striking the ground, tour buses pulling out of the parking lot. Ah, the sweet smell of diesel. The parking lot after a show.
  • The musty smell in Tom and Nicole's upstairs that takes me back to Grandpa and Grandma's house...the mustiness of lives lived that house...laughter, tears, secrets, hugs, rants, raves, meals shared...coating the house with layers of life...mustiness.

Anyway, I'm amazed at how smells can take you to a different time and place.

3 comments:

noell said...

sometimes you blow my mind. i love reading your blog alan.

Alan Bancroft said...

thank for the affirmation, Noell. I'm glad somebody enjoys my random rambling. Just for the record, I enjoy reading your blog, too.

Becca said...

Months later, I know, but I just read this. A nagging loneliness has encompassed me today. I was looking for something inspirational, so something brought me to your blog. I wasn't able to access this site at school, so this is actually the first time I have visited. I read the past 5 posts, (the ones that immediately come up), and then looked at the titles of past ones. Something about the title "Smells" intrigued me (I guess it's probably my obsession with the idea of olfactory emotions/ pheremones). Anyway, the smell that reminded you of me--the Tugaloo memory. Wow. Didn't expect that. Hit me hard and made me sad. But a good, a kindred -spirit- found- in- the-midst- of -darkness-kind-of-sad. A yearning to be back there.
Sometimes I feel like I'm passing up such wonderful opportunities while trying to create them from nothing.
I hate going long periods of time without intelligent conversation about things that matter to me. It's hard because alot of the people I enjoyed that with are ex-boyfriends, and those aren't always the best people to call at 2 AM with ramblings about saving the world and saving yourself.
I talked to an ex-boyfriend today who said that he has met the girl he's going to marry.
I didn't want to marry him when he felt that way for me, but as we get older we tell ourselves that there are plenty of people we could be happy with... Anyway, loneliness and regret washed over me with his comment. And those emotions are so selfish. I don't want to feel that; I don't want to be that person. Earlier this week I told my friend, Annie, in Austin, that I had become OK with being by myself and not having the "normal" 26 year old girl life of marriage, children, 'big-kid-job.' Anyway, I am Ok with that 98% of the time. This is not one of those days apparently.
And it will pass, I know. But in the meantime?
Alan, when you read this I hope you aren't turned off by the desperate selfishness that exudes from the words that I have written. I love that I know it won't. I love that I can tell you anything and you don't judge and most of the time you even understand. Deep-thinkers-emotions: a double-edged sword, don't you think?