Sniff Sniff

It's my first blog, ever, and I'm ignoring all considerations about being trite or unoriginal. I just finished running through the rain, through the streets of downtown Indianapolis, to see my wife one last time with long hair. She's sitting there now, at her hair salon on Monument Circle, waiting for them to "get her in." I'm sitting here, blinking through spotted lenses and trying to remember all the things I could see when I smelled the smell in a certain alley on my way back.

Some details: it wasn't really an unpleasant smell, though I'd be surprised if you were imagining otherwise - just a familiar smell, one I always thought came from tortilla chips, since that's what was always around when I used to smell it in the kitchen of the Mexican restaurant where I worked in high school.

Now, against all my intuitions against repeating the same thoughts others have expressed before, I'll describe. Large, clear, rectangular bins of chips, about the size of the storage containers you might use for off-season clothing. They were always hazy from the salty residue of the chips they carried, all of which were triangular like pirate hats and yellow like incandescent light. They were piled two and three high on stainless steel tables beside the door, and on the other side of the table was a trash can, a real gray rubber industrial trash can with a lid, completely filled with tortilla chips. When the bins were empty and you were down to presenting guests with red plastic baskets of crumbs, you hoisted up the bin and shoved your way through the doors into the kitchen, which smelled like: the alley behind the bank building on Pennsylania Avenue.

I used to think of that smell as the smell of tortilla chips, or salt, or Mexican food, but now as I realize that the nearest chip-serving establishment to the alley I ran through was several blocks' distance, and reflect back on the haze inside the bins and the way certain chips would gleam under the restaurant dining room's overhead lights, I guess I know that the smell was, is, grease. It was stronger, now that I think of it, when I had to take trash bags to the dumpster in the rain.

I never knew who filled the trash can with chips at the beginning of every shift. I just knew where to go to get more. And once again I know, in detail I never would have thought remained in my head, exactly what it felt like to stand in the kitchen of La Chica's Mexican Restaurant. Jeez - I wonder what else will be coming to and from my memory in the future.

I also wonder how my wife will like her new haircut.

Good luck, wife...

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