Years ago, I lived with a Febreze fanatic. The couch always smelled good, better than I ever expected couches to smell, as if it had been stuffed with fresh dryer sheets just before I sat down. I grew to like it, to expect it, to rely on it to mean that everything at home was in order and okay.
Later, I would find out that sometimes people spray Febreze on themselves because they can’t or don’t want to shower. While I am at work, its scent creates a different context; now Febreze is mild confusion or warning, sparks of sunshine gleaming off the head of a raised shovel.
I spotted a vintage Pelikan 100 in the wild – the reference desk, really – on Monday. It was burgundy with a bright gold “beak” clip and its owner let me write with it. It was filled with Private Reserve Chocolat, an excellent choice for this smooth writer. I let the patron write with my Lamy 2000, which is the new hotness of my collection and the Pelikan’s opposite in form and character; while the Pelikan reminded me of an antique Bentley, my Lamy is more of an Audi TT.
It was a random treat in the middle of a dull day.
Now I am flipping through Fountain Pens Past and Present and it smells just like my high school yearbooks used to smell. That combined with the smell of freshly-baking bread is making me homesick for Chicago, but only the Chicago of my teenaged self, all Wax Trax and Café Voltaire and living for that first burst of Friday afternoon air, half-past three and everything is possible as long as someone borrows a car.
The dashboard widget said 8 minutes, so I power-walked. As I slid onto one of the last non-senior seats on the bus, I caught a whiff of rubber cement.
The last time I smelled rubber cement on the bus, I was sitting next to the same person.
The smell was not entirely unpleasant. It reminded me of when I used to decorate my Chandler’s assignment notebook in high school, cutting out strange pictures from magazines and pasting them on the pages.
And so I catalogued one more smell that will not make me give up my seat on the bus.