Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Inherited Scents

I was reading an article about the smelliest street in New York (and possibly the entire universe) (On Broome, between Allen and Eldridge) and it said that when you walk past it you can’t help thinking of dying and rotting. I think it’s true that suddenly being hit with a smell can force a particular thought /memory into your head, and while most of the smells are recognizable, say, your grandmother’s perfume, or the bleachy laundry smell of a gym locker-room, occasionally these smells are not pinpoint-able at all; there are a few places in New York, and one or two here in California as well, where I recognize a smell so strongly but don’t know why or what it’s connected to. It’s like when you are trying to remember a word and you know that it is right on the tip of your tongue. I always wonder if these smells are from a past life or from the life of an ancestor that I’ve somehow inherited without my knowledge.

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