30 March 2013


The five senses that we possess as human beings are pretty remarkable things. Each of them, standing alone, are capable of amazing things and then when you time them all together, they are capable of recreating entire episodes of your life's history, for better or worse.

For instance, whenever I taste fennel, I am transported instantly to a restaurant in the basement of a winery in Napa Valley, CA, where I had the most amazing cream of fennel soup in 1995. I can taste every bite of that soup as if I were there right now.

Now the sense of smell is a tricky one. Like taste, it plays an incredible role in things both wonderful and foul. That overflowing, fetid hole toilet in Kolkata - yeah, I can smell it to this day. Conversely, the smell of vanilla wafts in and I am a man transported to a very good place. Earlier today, I had one of those transporting experiences with the sense of smell. I had to run an errand for the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML. Said errand took me to Pier 1, a place I had not darkened in as long as I could remember. As soon as I opened the door and was overwhelmed by the tsunami of aromas blanketing the store, I was a child again. You see, my mother frequented the Pier 1. Apparently, it was a gold mine for the decorative crap items that were essential to the myriad parties / shindigs / Church activities she threw as I grew up. As I navigated the cluttered aisles, it was as if I was accompanying my mom all over again. The store, nearly 2,000 miles away from the ones I went to as a child, smelled exactly the same and that's not a good thing. I'll say this though, it made me accomplish the task I'd been assigned in record time. It was as if the store could smell my fear.

I'm home now and the house is filled with the smells of prepping for Easter dinner. The garlic coating the homemade croutons is incredibly comforting. No smell of fear here. Take that, memory-inducing, sense of smell!

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