When you perceive a smell and suddenly remember something that you've forgotten for years, that is your olfactory and memory at work. There is a more detailed explanation of how the two do their thing, but I'm not here to give you a lesson in olfaction, look it up if you don't believe me - geesh do I have to do everything?
I bring up the olfactory nerve synapses (don't I sound all smart and stuff?) because the other day I was taken back to my late teenage years, yeah...way back. I walked into the grocery store, like I do every week without olfactory interruption - mostly because I am always in a hurry. I'm not one of those people who browse the isles at a moderate pace, no I'm a speed shopper. I'm in and I'm out. That's just how I roll. But this week I wasn't in a rush, I had no place to be so I took my time. When I walked in the smell hit me. (just that regular grocery store smell, if you don't know what I'm talking about take a moment and breathe it in the next time you go)
I was taken back to a time when I worked in the meat department of my local grocery store. I thought about getting there at 6 AM every morning. I thought about how freaking cold it was in that little room behind the glass. Yeah people, it's freeeeeeeeezing in there. I thought about how simpler my job was back then. Put the meat in the tray, weigh it, run it through the machine and slap on a price sticker. Now my days are consumed with ROI reports, revising our company web page, weekly meetings, spread sheets, presentations and endless emails of people who all want a little piece of me. Almost like I'm a piece of meat, funny how life comes full circle that way.
It always amazes me when I have moments like that. When just a smell brings back a memory or a feeling.
The smell of Eternity perfume reminds me of when I was in my early 20's. I practically bathed in that stuff.
I love the smell of books (especially old books) because it reminds me of the fifth grade, when I realized how much I loved reading and would spend hours in the library.
The smell of fresh cut grass makes me think of playing in our yard when I was a kid.
The smell of the laundry when it comes out of the washer brings me back to helping my grandmother hang the clothes outside.
The smell of a fire burning outside makes me think of the summer I spent camping with friends at the beach.
It's incredible how the whole olfactory nerve synapses thing works. How just a smell can bring you back in time.
Do you have a certain smell that brings you back?