Monday, December 29, 2008

The special combination of smells and emotions

This morning my daughter and I compared our extra long vacation length complicated anxiety dreams over coffee. As usual we both had plenty to say. I have been playing way too much of a particular game on my computer- that involves shooting rows of colored beads with a cannon, eliminating them as fast as possible. When I hit certain special beads the rows will run backwards, or slow down to a crawl, so that I can get caught up. Now when I fall asleep at night I see rows of colored beads racing in spirals on the inside of my eyelids. And when I fall asleep I dream about being on trains that run backwards.

In the middle of retrieving a dream, my daughter asked me;
"Do you ever have a dream of a place that evokes a brand new blend of emotions? Something you have not ever experienced before?" I thought about it, and realized that while I can't say for sure about my dreams, I do have certain places that have their own blend of feelings. For example my arts magnet high school was a particular blend of creative excitement, bright lights, the smell of fixer and paint and cigarettes, overstimulated teenage hormones and a little wisp of anxiety. My regular high school was dust, pot smoke smoke in the stairwells , pee in the stairwells, and a little wisp of ever present anxiety. My grandparents summer house on the ocean was sea air, mold, baking cakes, sunscreen and a little pocket of anxiety.

Thinking about blends of feelings reminded me of one of my favorite articles of the year, a survey on the special blend of smells found in each of the various T stops in Boston.
There must be some way to put up the link that looks more professional- just know that I am working on it.

Each station has its own mystique- forest hills smells like blunts, south station like the great unwashed, davis square like patchoulli, but they all smell of a faint whiff of pee.
I realize that for the MBTA pee is the base note that links all the various stations. For me, anxiety is the special ingredient, a little tiny bit of it mixed in to every special place and mood.

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