This afternoon I was coming back from the store, when I arrived home and got out of the truck, I detected an odor. It lasted for a fraction of a second and I don’t even know what it was. But for a brief millisecond I was nineteen, in Thailand and thinking with the little head.
It is amazing what memories and emotions can be conjured up by a smell. Evey once in a while I catch an odor and am transported to somewhere far away and a long time ago. A sniff of Gluhwein takes me to the Kriskindles Markt in Nurnberg at Christmas, I have a bar of soap in the bathroom that I dig out once in a while. It has a fragrance that I associate with cheap hotel rooms in Bangkok. A whiff of mud and mildew takes me to a village marketplace near Sattahip, manure and mint transport me to the bean and berry fields in Oregon that I worked in as a child.
Now days everything smells the same. It is all clean and antiseptic. Even Bangkok doesn’t have the same smell of mildew and rotting garbage that used to underlie the sharpers smells of curry and peppers. Or maybe I just can’t detect them anymore.