I saw on TV a man who lives in a former commercial airliner in Oregon. As he was giving a tour of his home, all of a sudden I was overcome with an olfactory memory. I was remembering the smell of an airplane: stale air, cold and hard plastic, old coffee, the bathroom cleaning product they should just name “Lavatory”. And this was just the smell of the aircraft itself, as you first board the empty plane before everyone’s perfume and moisturizer and offensive meals they carry on, newly purchased in the concourse.
I haven’t been on a plane in three years, but it came rushing back, filling my brain and seemingly my nostrils, too. And all at once, my life and specifically my career and love of travel were all that I could see in my mind’s eye and smell in my head.
It was all consuming and with the sensory overload I felt incredibly sad, and had to force myself to come back to the present, back to my chair, positioned close to the TV so I can see enough, in black and white, to follow along.
This happened a few days ago, and although not as strong, I continue to have flashbacks of my air travel. One sense begets another, along with smell, there is sight and sound: the click of the overhead bins, the holding of my breath while hoping no one cones to sit next to me as I search the eyes of the passengers coming down the aisle, praying to the Seat Assignment Gods that none of these eyes look at the row placard above me then instantly to the seat beside me in recognition of where their behind is headed. And, of course, the sound of a baby crying. Always a baby crying.
I hope that these memories go back to where they came from soon. Carrying them around as I have been the last few days has got me down. It may seem a little extreme to miss flying this much; I mean, who really wants to be belted to a Petri dish of germs at 600 mph, so far off the ground I can’t even conceive of it so why put a number here, with 500 strangers, many of them rude and inconsiderate?
Me, my nose and I.
To read about the man spearheading the movement to recycle planes into homes, click here