Thank You for the Ol’ Factory

Our olfactory system is like a time travel mechanism. It is a veritable factory, manufacturing associations and assimilating memories through the production line of our experiences.

The olfactory is the chemical mill you can count on to produce the truth and mail it directly to your intuition.

It astounds me that we can get our entire lives into those two tiny nostrils and store it all in the files of our brain to recall a random experience years later, triggered by a smell that passes us on the street.

Even more amazing is that we respond with our emotions to those memories our olfactory stores to interject into a future day.

Yesterday I was helping a woman lift a heavy cart into the trunk of her car. After we finished, I turned to cross the street and a breeze snuck up and wafted her scent into my olfactory files. 

I was teleported to a time many years ago to a convalescent hospital I visited, talking with an old blind woman named Irene. The cart woman must have used the same talcum powder Irene wore back then.

I was struck by the clarity in which I remembered Irene’s sweet, wrinkly face and surprised at the affection I suddenly felt for the woman with the cart.


I have also noticed there are certain folks my olfactory prevents me from getting to know in the present.

For instance, I am not attracted to people with beer breath or sweat that smells like bay leaves. I am sure these folks are wonderful people but my nose says no.

I wonder if this olfactory apparatus began in our evolution when we needed to avoid toxic plants and dangerous animal predators.

I am thankful for the olfactory.

It’s like having an old photo album with you at all times.

It’s like having a psychic friend who keeps you away from danger.


~ by leakelley on November 20, 2008.

One Response to “Thank You for the Ol’ Factory”

  1. “I smell nostalgia.” (Dalton Quistberg)

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