No later than last week, I was walking down the street on my way back to the office after a nice lunch - casually chatting with a friend about the effects of over crowded spaces on human beings’ behaviors in non-humanly-scaled cities (fairly philosophical conversation indeed). Then all of the sudden my nose’s attention got drawn to a not so pleasant smell.
I don’t need to mention how much the city where I live now fascinates me on many aspects - and especially because of being such a young town built up from scratch (just) a few centuries ago. More so, this city sometimes has some weird things coming out - especially when it comes to smells.
I was gifted as a child by what we call in French “a nose” (not to take too literally obviously) which means that on a regular basis, my attention can be drawn to a smell without any warning - whether the experience is pleasant or not. I can identify basic ranges of smells and recognize someone very easily by his/her perfume and/or smell - depending of the level of intimacy.
Anyway, back to the subject, while walking down the street, more than unpleasant, I came to realize that what I found strange about that fragance was its anachronism. It was something similar to horses’ dung I use to smell as a child when my dad was taking me to the racetrack. Back in the days, my fertile imagination was taken in the XVIIIth century where ladies were wearing hats and long dresses to go to this special events on sunny Sundays (old fashion rule in France is that ladies still don’t pay to enter) and I was keeping that smell within my nose very much alive long after for its time traveling vertues as I was thinking streets must have been smelling the same rather than gas, cars, McDonald’s junk food and other polluted substances. Not that I think this might have been any better or nicer. But at least… More natural I imagine.
I had a look around and did not see any horses, neither any footprints or substances that would have suggested a horse passed there shortly before I did. Nevertheless, it left me pretty dreamy and nostalgic for the rest of the day, pleased to realize that in the concrete jungle where I decided to set my home, I could still be pleasantly surprised and despite the years, I could still time-travel.