Thursday 15 March 2007

The Persistence of Memory

What is the stuff of memory? Mostly I think it is smell. Of all the five senses I find a random scent evokes the most memories.
The deodorant I'm using at the moments (knock down price of 50p a can in Boots on Sunday) is one I've not used, literally, for years. The last time I used Natrel (in the green tin) was back when I was at Uni. I was working a summer job as a cleaner - starting about 6:30 and finishing at 11. The last two hours required me to provide tea and coffee to the building and sit reading in between. I remember very clearly the smell of the deoderant and sitting in the attic kitchen, oddly reading the books I'm re-reading right now!
The smell of the cleaning fluid they use in my old office is the same as the ones invariably used at the holiday cottages my parents rented when I was a child. Thus, oddly, at the end of the day, as the cleaner did his rounds, I'd get a feeling of holidays!
The smell of some particular laundry detergents always reminds me of the communal laundry in the Halls I lived in at college; and, for just a moment I am back in the basement with the noisy machines and my overdue assignments.
Floor polish and chalk dust take me back to school. Mowed grass and wood smoke back to the Summer of '95 and my trip to Glastonbury.
I read, once, that a woman should have a signature scent; a perfume that she wears always; making others associate it with her. I couldn't possibly do that I have about 5 perfumes open at any one time. I like to match my perfume to my mood¦ and the scent of certain perfume will always remind me of a significant occasion on which I wore it.
Sadly - at the moment, it is the time of year for getting colds - and my stuffy nose means that I cannot smell much of anything at all!