Olfactory memories

I just got a strong memory of the smell of the gas they used to put me under for ear surgery when I was… oh, had to be less than ten, I think, because I wasn’t that old when I opted for IV induction instead of the gas. (The bastards said the IV wouldn’t leave me as sick and groggy when I woke up. Liars. IV induction left me sick and groggy when I had my last ear surgery and it ultimately left me sick and groggy when I had my wisdom teeth removed.)

It’s a strange, tingling smell (they told me it would smell like bubblegum and gasoline, which is somewhat accurate but not quite right); chemical, but more complex than, say, a sharpie’s rather harsh one-note sweetness. If a sharpie’s smell is an ugly bright red, this gas is a darker, purply-red, like a cherry. (Also: Gooseberries smell and taste brown. That’s the only other olfactory response I associate with a color that strongly, aside from the obvious ones like plants smelling green.) And the tingle is practically a smell in and of itself.

The last time I had that gas, I recall being able to (or thinking I was able to) smell it coming out of my skin for a little while after surgery. I haven’t smelled it since.

Anyone else have interesting olfactory memories?

I just had an odd one a few hours ago: for some reason I recalled the smell of the homemade Play-Doh substitute we used to make in Cub Scouts. Based on the recipes I’m seeing online, I’m probably thinking of the smell of the water and vegetable oil.

This one time in band camp, we were running to warm up for a day full of marching (gotta love parking lot calisthenics). A trumpet player accidentally tripped me, and I skidded and sustained some pretty heinous road rash. My mom (a nurse) scrubbed it out with antibacterial peach-scented soap, and now the smell of peach soap still sicks me out something fierce. It doesn’t physically hurt me, of course, but it takes me right back to all that pain. Augh, memories.

Lilac smells bring me back to smelling the awesome lilac bush in my childhood home’s backyard though, so that’s okay :slight_smile:

There’s a certain antiseptic that was used to clean the hospital hallways and rooms at my first place of employment that can take me right back there whenever I happen to walk into another facility that uses the same stuff.

I remember the smell of every man with whom I became… close. Oddly enough, the olfactory memories of other men would pop up once in a while when I was married, and I felt guilty. Guilty in a good way. Intimations of sin.

Oh god. The GAS. The awful GAS. I had my adenoids out when I was five, and the only clear memory I have is of the minutes leading up to being knocked out with that shit. The doctor put that mask over my face and told me to sing twinkle twinkle little star into it because it was a microphone and somebody important wanted me to sing. Twinkle twinkle…gag…HEY!! Followed by the mask being held down on my face harder and that smell getting stronger retch Torture. Once or twice, something has gotten up my nose and reminded me of those minutes, and I HATE IT.

Estee Lauder perfume reminds me of my Great Grandmother and Grandmother, crayons remind me of my kindergarten classroom, and certain cheap plastic toys remind me of a couple of Bert and Ernie finger puppets I had.

It happens pretty often, but those are the only ones that come to mind right away.

I will never forget the smell of the woman I first loved. Such a nice detergent.

Ironically enough, the perfume you’re probably remembering is called Youth Dew. My grandmother loved it as well. That stuff is so strong you could almost chew it.

A good whiff of diesel fuel - not that I go around whiffing it, but if a truck happens to pass by - brings me instantly to hot sunny days in India, visiting the market, with the noise and the cacophony in the background, every merchant shouting at once, dusty, tired roads, with a sea of dark brown people.

Wonderful, wonderful memories.

ETA: I remember the gas thing but I didn’t have any traumatic memories. When I was ten I had surgery on my eye (to correct lazy eye) and the gas smelled like bubble gum. I was out like a light though, so it was like three breaths. I react perfectly to anaesthesia.

Machine oil and burnt metal,
My Dad and Grandfather worked for this large machine shop, i started going there before i was born and later I worked for my Dad in another shop. The odor is unique and utterly soothing to me, I react to it the same way I would a fresh out of the oven peach cobbler. It smells like home. I wish I could describe it, a bit like Diesel but not exactly.


I had a bar of camomille soap that smelled like my grandmother. I used to wet it every once in a while just to feel her near.

Me too. Another one is the smell of new lumber… when I was 5, we moved from a house I didn’t like much to a newly-built house which was our home for the rest of my childhood.

Plain Chap Stik = 1972 Indiana sledding down the hills, staying out all day, coming in to get soup and sandwiches, crusted with snow and bundled up like Randyin A Christmas Story.
Good times.