I still have my old “hot rod” that I used to drive in High School. It’s an old Detroit muscle car. But most important, it’s a convertible. To some it’s the quintessential California car. A Pontiac GTO convertible. The GTO takes us back to different times. Fun in the sun. California Girls. Beach Boys. Testosterone release through big block V8’s.
I’ve been driving my GTO lately. The top hasn’t been up in 6 years. At the end of my street is small grove of eucalyptus trees. Every time I’m leaving or returning to home, I smell those trees. To be honest, when I drive my everyday car, I never smell these trees. I never smell much of anything, I guess. And Ithink of our olfactory senses. The smell of flowers, Pine trees. Fire in the fireplace. And simply the smell of fresh air (ok, no jokes about southern california smog here). Makes you feel alive. Like a blog that takes you to new places and old, the smell of those eucaplytus trees takes me back to the time I first arrived in California.
Before I migrated the GTO to California and while the old GTO sat on blocks back in Connecticut, the only vehicles I owned for my first few years were motorcycles. I put over a hundred thousand miles on those bikes. And I remember how I could smell the trees. And perhaps most vivid in my mind is the bakery south of LAX on the 405 Northbound side. Whenever I would head north in the morning among the thousands of commuters in stop and go, I’d smell the bread baking. Aromatic and refreshing. And I think about all those people in their cars, listening to talk radio, putting on makeup, drinking coffee or even trying to read the newspaper. And I think they can’t even smell the bread. Or the air. And sadly, my motorcycle years are behind me. But cruising around in the old GTO brings me back and and certainly makes me feel alive. Breathe in the air.