Olfactory memory or travel in time
November 27th, 2022
I’ve done it again. Or maybe it happened to me again. I don't know how much of my doing was involved in it, but I was there, and it happened to me. Again. So it was me, in one way or in an unconscious way — doing it.
Travel in time always starts with a smell. For me, at least. That happened already so many times that I can recognize the pattern. And that happened again last afternoon. I was resting, doing basically nothing when it started.
It was an old scent. The fragrance of the old world, old leather, old spice, old furniture, old apartment, old me. Now, how could that be an old me — when it was definitely going back to the 1980s when I was young?
How can I say “old me” about a teenager me? It just seems like a contradiction, but I cannot say it differently. Now I am older in years on my register of life, but I think about myself as a “new me”. Strange.
But let's go back to time travel. When that particular fragrance entered my nostrils, it was accepted and analyzed by my brain to form a peculiar recall of a memory of nothing more than my old room from my teen years.
Now, how can I be certain that it was an actual smell? When I think about it some more, it seems impossible that it was a real scent — there was nothing around me that would or could create it or cause it. Strange.
But no matter the origin of the aroma — my eyes were open, so it was not a daydream, it was all tangible. For only a second, I was bodily transported to a place I already forgot I knew very well as a young person years ago.
Only a second, but I felt a physical change in my reality of time and space. I was really there, my old bed, a desk which was strangely empty of any books and notebooks and papers and written down notes for the future.
I had plenty of notes then where I planned my future. I planned my life and my career and my hopes carefully — I would write down different scenarios, considering different potential fortunes and accidents. All bunk now.
Only a second, when I realized I was back to my current life and my current place in the chaos of things. It was only a second of a feeling, but it took long minutes afterward to accept and analyze what had happened.
My analysis was simple — I traveled back in time. Again. It happens to me occasionally, but not frequently enough. I cannot make them happen when I want them and direct them to a place and time of significance in my life.
But no matter — I am glad for those moments of the materially tactile experience of moments from the past. It feels like a gift I could use for something significant. Or maybe for enjoyment without any other reason.