Certain things smell bad but pull you deep into a memory.
Sometimes it is a tiny smell that lasts a microsecond but transport you through time. Sometimes it is a big smell that wraps everyone up but only you know its deep secret.
I was walking down the street and was wrapped in this big smell that was somewhat foul but familiar. It was awful yet I had to pause to drink it in.
This construction site was emitting a deep machine, dirty oil and diesel exhaust mixed just so as if trying to create a cologne of a long lost relic. If bottled it might bear the name like LST 1184 or Ode of Remembrance.
This stink was exact smell of deep within an old ship.
The inside was cramped, we slept four high. I was lucky enough that our bunk was right against a bulkhead, others only had inches from the next group of four.
The stink of dirty grease didn’t always penetrate within the berth but it was an undertone. You could scrub but it was still there.
When they fired up all the Hogs you could smell the exhaust. In the tank deck your eyes would sting with the smoke. I sometimes wondered how many months this was taking off my life, breathing it hurt.
Outside wasn’t much better. Inside this little windtunnel was cold on some days and others blistering hot.
I have described living on ship was like sleeping in your classroom every night. Then you wake to begin work like that groundhogs day movie. And your whole classroom of kids never leave. And it lasts six months. All of you in one small space.
That construction smell transported me to another life I used to live. While many of the days were not great, time makes me cherish them a little more.