I was talking with a friend the other day and he suddenly turned to me and said, "Do you smell that?" My instinctive reaction was to say, "It wasn't me," but that's not what he was talking about. He said, "It smells like warm milk."
I remember thinking, "Oh-kay." I may have even scrunched my face together. What an odd thing to smell.
Then he said, "I love that smell," and I think I subconsciously moved a few inches away from him. Tell me I'm not the only one that thinks that's an odd odor to love? So naturally, me being my inquisitive self, I asked him why. And after he explained, it all made perfect sense.
He told me, "I used to have this girlfriend and every time we kissed, she tasted like warm milk." He was smiling dreamily as he recalled the memory and I could see he was no longer with me but in another time. He was with her, reliving those sweet milky kisses and enjoying the loving feeling that accompanied them. I envied him.
I tried my best to recall a similar memory to take me away to a time I wanted to relive. But it wasn't happening, sometimes you can't control those things. You're walking along, smell some fries cooking and get instantly transported back to that Little League game where you hit the homerun and your Dad treated you to a hotdog and fries. The fries were smothered in ketchup and salt and by the time you got back to the bleachers to eat, the fries had made the ketchup hot and the ketchup had turned parts of the fries soggy. Every time you ate a fry, you had to lick your fingers clean and that salty hot ketchup tasted like heaven.
I was sitting there watching him relive his moment and blammo, an olfactory memory of my own popped up. It was amazing, I closed my eyes and bathed in the emotions. It was a hot summer day about twenty years ago and I was helping my Dad on his job. He worked in construction back then and we always had jobs at new houses. He used to keep a cooler in his beat-up van, filled with ice and cheap store-brand sodas. And more importantly, there was always a box of Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies laying around.
In the ninety degree heat, those little creme pies practically baked in their clear cellophane packages. Little Debbies are moist to begin with, but let them bake in the sun for about a week and then eat one. You think Krispy Kreme doughnuts or cotton candy melts in your mouth? Those warm oatmeal creme pies are as close to heaven as I can get without being blissfully in love. Someone even sells them on ebay to ship worldwide!! (even though they misspell "creme pie" as "cream pie")
Our noses have an amazing ability to process odors and trigger memories somehow linked to them, we still can't figure out exactly how all this works. We know aromas cause the brain to release neurochemicals like enkephalin (reduces pain and induces feeling of well-being), endorphins (reduces pain and induces sexual feelings) and serotonin (relaxes and calms). And when you mix a warm memory with these chemicals and the feelings associated with them, it's just simply magic.
It's enough to make an atheist believe in God.