Friday, September 18, 2009
Oh The Smells I Left Behind
The air is cool. It feels like fall. I smelled the interior of an elementary school today--it smells just the same as the school I went to as a kid. How is that possible? What is it that grade schools contain that creates that smell---that they contained 30 or 40 years ago? You can smell it in the stairwells, the hallways....I don't know..is it school supplies or some special floor cleaner used only in public schools? Maybe it's all those sweaty schoolkids confined in one space. Will schools still smell this way 30 years from now? I hope so. It hit me today as I was walking past the fish aquarium...I take for granted the school and that familiar funky scent, that conjures up memories both good and horrible----The time I barfed all over my desk in the third grade---having to endure long recesses in the biting cold---being picked last at kickball--pretending I was on the Starship Enterprise as a way to make it through the day--I took for granted that I was smelling that same smell again, when really, it's a unique smell not found anywhere else, and I could just as easily not be smelling it, if I didn't have kids. Why, I might never have smelled this smell again for the rest of my life, if it weren't for them! Think about that. And how disappointing it would have been if I had encountered some shiny new freshness in the air, generated by modern-day schools. No, the chalkboards might have lost out to dry erase boards, but grubby kids still line up in the halls, and those halls still emit the same smells as ever.