out of thin air

posted 5 Mar 2003, 11PM | 10 Comments

what a trip, the californian air. brigtly lit sky, rarely falling with condensing water, dirty with engine dust, still and dry and cool. brezzes do not blow by so often.

the thing that still gets me about living in southern california is the way smells, temperatures, and air masses combine to remind me of specific times of the year and odd blends of seasons (as they exist back in the northeast, where seasons exist). turn a corner in the neighborhood while biking with headphones, and suddenly it's a warm blooming day in mid-spring. talking with my roomates after the sun goes down, tea in hand and sweater on chest, and a cool wood-stove breeze makes it quite clear that we're enjoying a mid-november stroll on cape cod.

and yesterday morning i discovered a new one: damp ground, thinly overcast clouds, and the half-hidden rising sun all mixed together just right. suddenly i found myself in the mid to late 80s, arriving early at the eel river beach club for a long day of swimming and tennis lessons, sandwiches and sand castles. my mother and brother and i arrive before most of the other kids and parents; the staff has just finished hosing down the concrete. If the sun doesn't show more of itself, it may stay too cold to go swimming. at the pop-shop counter, i'm already eyeing the marino's italian ice sign, imagining a grilled chees and chips for lunch on top of the pump house

i set my mug on the roof of my car and keyed the door, trying to figure out if i could smell salt in the air. los angeles air can remind me of so many places. but once I'm gone, what breeze on earth would remind me of los angeles?

There are 10 Comments


6 Mar 03 at 02:31PM Adam said:

I especially like the feeling of remembering a certain time through smells. It always seems that smells and feelings stick with you longer than the actual sights.


6 Mar 03 at 03:55PM ryan said:

yeah, apparently the olefactory center of the brain is closest in proximity to memory cells, so smells get recorded first, and make the strongest impressions. i read that in discover magazine or something.

it's annoying when you're walking through a cafe or movie theatre, and suddenly smell some girl you used to have a crush on, and you have to follow some strange woman around for a few seconds, just to remember what that young love felt like.


6 Mar 03 at 06:25PM Jeremy's Jeremiad said:

It was Marino's Italian Ice I think. I can remember the yellow/green container very clearly. Watermelon was tops, unmatched and quite lucious.


6 Mar 03 at 08:06PM ryan said:

it was marino's.
i mis-typed.
i'll fix it.
my apologies, mr. world traveler.


6 Mar 03 at 11:20PM dave said:

1. Don't be disrespectin' the blue raspberry Marino's, also available at the Eel River Beach Club.

2. My sister and I are the only two people on earth, I swear, who understand what "Florida" smells like. More specifically, the smell of Florida halfway down the eastcoast during February school vacations. Part of its appeal was the fact that nobody from school was there, smelling it with you. Smelled like justice, with just a hint of "Disneyworld Tomorrow" in it. One time I dragged my girlfriend out of her apartment because I randomly smelled Florida in Hartford, and thought she should know about it.

I sympathize, Rye. But when a storm "sneaks up" on Mass like it did today, causing THREE accidents of twenty, thirty, and seventy-five cars, on rtes. 3, 24, and 95, respectively, I have no sympathy for your wistful olfactories. Eat sunshine, biyatch.


8 Mar 03 at 07:30AM liam said:

The one thing I really like is the way we get a lot of different weather in one day in SC. The mornings are chilly and remind me of going to work at the Marina in the morning while the fog hasn't burned off the bay yet. The days are warm king of like an indian summer day in mid-october, and lately the nights have been cold and crisp like a night in november before the real chill sets in. Some days when the rain never seems to end I get that feeling that I want to leave, but then we have one seriously beautiful day where I can go down to the beach and see the waves rolling in and I remember why I am where I am. A lot of give and take with mother nature. I think my blood has thinned out because I am freezing my ass of here on the cape. Back to Cali for some healing. Your welcome to come and visit Dave!


8 Mar 03 at 10:02PM Dan said:

Yea Dave, as humorous as I find your rants against we californian folk, we all moved here for at least partly the reason of gettin the hell out of 20 degrees and windy gray everyday from nov to may, well I exagerate, but relatively to Redwood City ("Climate judged best by goverment test.") it is true. So waht Im saying is pack your ass up and come visit or move here. I know I and Im sure everyone else would be glad to have you come visit. And I tell you now is the time, green green 68deg. sunny and the smell of flowers in the air. and what its mar? It also gets dark at 630 now. But I also know exactly what your talking about when it comes to florida. But I wasnt one of those hoity toity kids that got to go every year for feb vacation. I went once when I was 8 and again when I was 17. And Liam, I enjoy most the mornings when its to cold to get out of bed, but if you go outside in the sun its toasty. It warms your core and makes it ok.


10 Mar 03 at 12:46AM liam said:

Dan, I must admit that being back in the warm embrace of Cali. is nice. Getting the sun as it burns off the fog here in the morning is fantastic. Riding my bike down to the beach is wonderful in the early am. You guys should come down for a bonfire one of these friday night. We have plenty of room for guests. Sorry I missed you guys on the 1st. That party sounded like it was going to be good!


10 Mar 03 at 09:26AM dave said:

if it makes you guys feel any better, i came to this realization last night: I'm not happy with ANY one part of my life right now. I'm cold, single, poor, in debt (very different from poor), and almost exactly where I started this mortal coil. A change is in the works. Or at least a visit.


10 Mar 03 at 10:59AM liam said:

dave-the jobs are the same here, but the scene is very different. The weather is warm, the women beautiful, and friends are plentiful. if you come out here you should come to Santa Cruz or we should meet up at Ryan's.

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