I have a pretty strong sense of smell, some smells can even trigger a migraine headache (Fortunately for me, one of those smells is a cleaning product. Sorry, can't mop the floor, Big Guy). Whether or not a smell triggers a physical reaction from me, most trigger an emotional reaction.
The Big Guy was working late this week and wouldn't be home until after dark. I must have had 10 boys over here playing football all afternoon up until dinner time. I forgot to check that the garage doors were shut until it was well past dark. The kids were in bed and I was alone and I opened the kitchen door into the garage to hit the garage door button. It was dark in the garage and the door was indeed open, but there was a smell that filled my nose and caused me to immediately shut the door and lock it before I could hit the button. I reacted in a split second, even before I fully realized what I was doing. It smelled like a man in the garage; a mixture of sweet tobacco and cologne, and I sensed danger and my body responded instantly.
We never did find anything and the smell went away once the second garage door opened but I started to think about smells and my response to them. I can smell something and be transported back to a place in time when I can see, smell and feel a moment in time.
The smell of ammonia takes me back to the days when I was still a working girl. We had gone to clean out the apartment of an elderly client that passed away. The strong smell of ammonia (urine) and the strange collections (her hair, milk jug rings, wrappers) left an impression on me. I have never been able to smell ammonia since without getting a migraine.
The smell of "Windsong" perfume and banana bread makes me think of my mom; spaghetti sauce and aftershave, my dad.
The smell of Aussi hairspray brings me back to my college days, getting ready to go out for the night with my roommates. One of the twins used this spray when getting ready and I can see and hear her whenever I smell it (incidentally, I hear the Wilson Phillips CD we used to listen to all the time when I smell it).
"Beautiful" by Estee Lauder reminds me of my wedding day and the earthy smell of moss reminds me of a childhood fort I built by a stream.
The smell of a newborn baby almost makes my chest ache with imaginary milk, I can't get enough, and the Big Guy has a smell all his own that makes me happy and safe.
Feta cheese brings me back to a college job at a Greek pizza parlor and a musty house smells just like the house I shared with friends one summer at college.
Anything plastic, (a shower curtain, for example) makes me think of a new dolly or Barbie and I HATE the smell of a new car.
Skunks make me think of a good friend I've lost track of that loved that smell, and The smell of the sea while driving over the bridge into Stone Harbor every summer brings excitement for the week ahead.
Is it just me? What smells trigger memories for you?