It’s Saturday morning, 10:40 and I’m standing in the aisle of a busy supermarket debating the merits of a swing lid bin, against the one where the lid opens by gently tapping your foot on a pedal.
All of a sudden I’m transported back to a time when the highlight of my day was swinging upside down on the jungle gym and it took all my resolve not to cry when my parents dropped me off in the morning.
No, my crèche days had nothing to do with trash, or any kind of reference to garbage. It was the smell of a lady who walked past – a smell almost identical to that of Teacher Lillian, my much adored pre-school teacher. It was like a mixture between flowers, and a kind of shampoo. (Must’ve been some really good shit because her hair was always silky soft). But what are the chances of some random lady smelling exactly like my pre-school teacher, 18 years ago?
What is it about smell that has this amazing ability to transport you to the often special, the sometimes scary, but mostly forgotten times in your life.
For example, the smell of the green Lux body lotion would always remind me of one of my best friends Nisi, our high school days, and getting ready to go out to some dodge spot without our parents knowing.
What is it about the whiff of baby powder that would have me thinking of my mother and subsequently developing a lump in my throat?
The smell of freshly baked scones transports me back to my Aunty J’s kitchen on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
Some would attribute the ability of smell to unlock memories to simple science. But I would like to think of smell as little vessels that hold and carry memories though time, unleashing them on you at just the right moment.