This post is dedicated to my friend Courtney, who has past chapters she cherishes, and to Amanda Hesser, who recalls the church bells from a past chapter in her life.
Amanda Hesser for being a badass foodie and writer who doesn’t know me at all, and was still willing to answer questions about how she writes and thinks and eats. Courtney, for taking me to see Katey Red in concert Tuesday night. In fact, it was Wednesday morning by then, and there were people all shapes and colors and sizes, and some people had headwear and others didn’t. In fact, that was my July 4th festivity. Because aside from eating a fabulous ice cream cone with my friend S. the next day, I sort of had to sit in my room and recover for 36 hours. Or 48. Not counting the bartendress who talked to me a lot last night.
and so, as I’m not hulu-ing it, or wi-fi-ing it unless I walk a few blocks to a store/restaurant, I have noticed something and maybe Katey Red cracked the anchovy tin open in my brain on this one, but folks, sometimes being alone actually helps me remember stuff. I am actually remembering things that I have forgotten for a long, long time. Like smells and sights from different places I’ve lived are returning to me, out of the blue, as I chug coffee and dream and brainstorm.
Cambridge, Massachusetts: Portuguese bakery smell mixed with fish market mixed with Necco factory dusty sugar smell. Sounds of the T brakes squealing. My roommate’s beef stew, the smell of hot chocolate croissants in cold air. Molasses ginger ice cream with hot fudge sauce from Toscanini’s. Matzoh ball soup
Wheaton, Maryland: Glen Miller, Ricky Scaggs, go-go, acrylic square tip airbrushed nails, ice cream sandwiches. American Pie, my dad sucking his teeth absentmindedly. Garlic. Old Bay. A1 steak sauce, canteloupe, cicadas roaring, chocolate mousse, Paul Simon, Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes
Brooklyn, New York: tortillas (corn) on an open flame burner, San Antonio rice, potato latkes, roti, Mr. Softee singsong truck, hot trash smells, muffins baking, sausage and pancakes fresh at Tom’s Diner on Washington, Lauryn Hill, Nag Champa. friends with champagne parties in warehouses in Dumbo, friends who made a lot of money before the dot com bust, a dress made of pink slips by one of those friends after the bust. electrical fire.
Santa Monica, California: lillies, wild blooming onions, beach tar, sage in Topanga, hot dry, sweaty yoga mats under sun, moans from the assisted living residence across the alleyway, the dispatch at the auto repair store, seagulls, frozen yogurt and raspberries, fried calamari, Peet’s iced coffee. The smell of Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf–never found a beverage that captured that cocoa powdery lofty smell; the Glade plug-ins (smelled like Pacifica candle Brazilian Mango Grapefruit) left by the former teacher in the classroom where I taught 7th grade.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana: crawfish smells, beer smells, petrochemical (once a month) nose grabbing stench, sweet olive blooms, taste of CC’s iced coffee that never fails to give me a stomach ache, meatless nuggets, coconut, kale, Tyler’s red beans and rice, LSU school song chimed at noon from the bell tower. Voluspa candle–the first “nice” candle I bought when we started living together: Lichen Vetiver.