There are two things in this world that can take me back faster than any time machine ever created (in movies or in real life.) Those two things are: music and smell.
Allow me to throw out an example. Last Saturday at Target was an emotional rollercoaster for me. I grab a basket and start walking…pass by the checkout and smell someone wearing Curve cologne. Bam- back to being 17, crushing on the guy (who wore Curve) at a local high school. I may have even stopped to sniff again just because the memory was so innocent- I missed who I was- even though my haircut at 17 made me look like a poodle. I was naïve. I thought that working hard would get me everything. I hadn’t had any of my dreams laughed at yet. My heart had never been broken. *mental slap* Being 27 is pretty awesome. My hair looks better. Hard work is getting me there. My heart is still beating. Still, you’d think I would purchase a bottle of Curve and keep it on my dresser.
Moving on from that, I hit up the blankets and pillows section. Not because I needed blankets and pillows but because it’s Target. I heard “My Girl” for a brief moment (perhaps an advertisement from over in movies?) and immediately thought of the movie Music and Lyrics in which Hugh Grant’s character said that nothing could pull you back into a moment quite like a song. This, in turn, made me think of all of the songs that I have attached to a particular individual/instance. Whenever I hear “Dancing Queen” I think of my Grandma and whenever I hear anything by Wilson Phillips I automatically think of my mother. When I hear “We Built this City” I attach it to Saturdays cleaning the house when I was younger- my dad had the cassette tape and would turn it UP on the boom box. There are songs that remind me of old friends and old loves- as well as current friends and current loves. Within the opening verse, I am instantly happy or instantly sad. It’s crazy how something so simple can have that powerful and immediate of an impact on your life.
Right about that time was when a man passed me wearing the cologne that my current beau wears. I not only a) wanted to request that he let me take in a huge whiff of his jacket (I didn’t) b) wanted to contact my beau just to say I was thinking of him (I did.)
Realizing how powerful these two things are has made me disturbingly brilliant at honing my listening and smelling skills when I am in a moment I never want to forget. I have realized that I don’t always remember things (unless I write them down) and I won’t always recall moments, simply because there are so many moments in a single day. However, when I can attach music or a smell to a specific memory, it hits me when I least expect it- Target, the grocery store, the parking lot, work, an airplane, or a million other places that smells and music exist.
I would like to think that even when I’m old and getting around my retirement home on a scooter because I can no longer walk, that some young whippersnapper will wear his Curve cologne and I’ll look to my left and tell my good friend Bessie all about my first high school crush when I was 17. With a little luck, Bessie won’t remember that she has already heard the story 30 times.
What about you? What triggers your memories the fastest?