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Thursday, May 20, 2004

Remembrance of things past.

Class again last night... I noticed on my way up to the second floor that all school stairwells smell exactly the same. I cannot describe the smell, but whatever it is, it took me back to my junior year of high school again. I do not know why it took me back as specifically as to my junior year. Maybe I spent a lot of time going back and forth from floor to floor that year. Have you ever had this experience? Where your nose gets ahold of a scent and suddenly you you're transported back in time to a person, place or thing that you had forgotten for years? It happens to me all the time. A whiff of pipe tobacco, the aroma of bread being baked in a bakery, or any long-forgotten scent can instantly conjure up scenes and emotions from the past. Certain perfumes and colognes always remind me of certain people, past or present, in my life. Even tastes. Certain foods will do it too, and rightly so, because most of the flavor of food comes from its aroma.

In The Remembrance of Things Past, Marcel Proust described what happened to him after drinking a spoonful of tea in which he had soaked a piece of madeleine, a type of cake: "No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through my whole body, and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me," he wrote. "An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses...with no suggestion of its origin...

"Suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was of a little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings...my Aunt Leonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea....Immediately the old gray house on the street, where her room was, rose up like a stage set...and the entire town, with its people and houses, gardens, church, and surroundings, taking shape and solidity, sprang into being from my cup of tea."

Just seeing the madeleine had not brought back these memories, Proust noted. He needed to taste and smell it. "When nothing else subsists from the past," he wrote, "after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered...the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls...bearing resiliently, on tiny and almost impalpable drops of their essence, the immense edifice of memory."

Between the stairwells, and the tiny little desks, with hardly room for one opened textbook, I felt like a teenager again. Class went well, but I'm still a little bored. I remember everything so far from my Algebra classes in HS... but I'm sure I won't be saying that for too much longer. I looked ahead in the book, and in about 2 or 3 more chapters, which is equivalent to about one-half of the next classes, it should be getting a little harder.

The weather outside is lovely, beautiful, gorgeous. 75 and sunny. And the lumps that Abby and I decided to be, stayed in all day. It's a Jeremy Piven marathon day. I think he would probably fall under the category "People I Fancy, But Feel I Shouldn't." I think he's kinda cute, and an awesome actor too. It sucks that he always seems to be cast as the sidekick/best friend. Hey Cusack! Why don't you play the best friend for once? Why don't you sit Piven down and explain to him why he can't let this fantastic girl walk out of his life?

George is going to "the" Korean restaurant with the Koreans and the other guys from work again tonight... The last time he went, he ate live octopus (still moving on the plate), and drank some Korean whiskey all night... he smelled like death when he walked in the door. As a precaution, I asked him, very nicely, to sleep downstairs tonight. No way am I having my sheets smell that bad again! Ugh!

Nothing much else to report... it's been a fairly uneventful week. Sometimes no news is good news, right?

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