Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Warm Bread in the Morning, Warm Sugar in the Evening

Ah, the smells of Baltimore. Each morning as I begin work the scent of the nearby H&S Bakery wafts over the docks and we're all treated to the aroma of warm yeast and steamy baguettes. Until we remember that most of what they bake is buns for McDonald's hamburgers and that they're probably loaded with preservatives and garbage, just for the sake of being sold in McDonald's. But the smell is wonderful and invigorating, particularly after a hot breakfast on the Lady Maryland and a cup of coffee.

During the day the smell fades--often after a twenty-minute period of the smell of burnt toast--and for a while we smell diesel, brackish water, garbage, and ourselves. Marlin (a type of marine-grade twine) smells like a clean barn or a freshly-changed hamster's cage; pine tar smells like Worcestershire sauce. Epoxy smells bad.

In the evening the wind changes and we're treated to eau de Domino Sugar, whose factory is visible across the river. My brain has linked its pleasant aroma with the smell of hot fresh peanut butter cookies, but deep down I know they're actually different. Its just the brain has a limited number of receptors for olfactory memories and its doing its best to categorize it as it understands.

And the Taney has come up with some even weirder noises to startle and confuse me with--currently a pipe join near my mirror is making an eerie popping noise, which always gives me visions of all of my stuff suddenly being doused in rust-colored seawater. Oy vey, my housing-included lifestyle.

1 comment:

Ben said...

That reminds me of the fragrant waft from Tunnel Refineries in North Greenwich. I have no idea what it is that they refine, but it smells like cheap cider that's been left out in the open for four days.

Which invariably reminds me of what four day old cider tastes like - which is something I'd rather forget.