The Smells of the Shore

I do my best thinking in the two places where it is most difficult to pen my thoughts: my shower and my car.  It’s unfortunate and typical but maybe explains why my entirely alone and uninterrupted thoughts are the best ones.  The problem, though is that as a result of my late in life ADD diagnosis and my outrageous imagination, I forget 90% of my best material.

The good news today is that the idea for this post followed me around all weekend.  Everywhere I went,  I was reminded about how much I love the smells of the shore.  Your sense of smell brings back some of your strongest memories as it is likely the first sense developed by the human body.  I’m not going to put together a bibliography for my research but you should be able to find my resources by typing in “smell and memories” and reviewing the initial headlines that pop up on Google. What I’m trying to say is if you were taken to the beach as a baby, it’s likely you will always have fond memories that flood your heart and soul the minute you walk into a beach house these days…

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My favorite smell of all time is sun screen.  Particularly Coppertone.  I still picture the pink bottle with the little girl in a bathing suite being chased by a dog behind her.  It was very much for babies and very much 80’s.  But I love the idea of it.  I remember the torture of having to put sunscreen on your face when you were little.  And the horrific idea that it might not have been perfectly rubbed in.  And then your teenage years when you’re far too good for sunscreen – you won’t burn – in fact, you want to burn.  And then eventually you become a real adult and realize it’s good to wear sunscreen because you really don’t want wrinkles or skin cancer and it is really a bother to be burned. I love sunscreen.  And I could smell it all day long.

The smell of the beach is incredible.  Particularly when you’re driving towards it with the windows down and you’re tired and have been sitting in traffic and all of the sudden you realize for the first time you’re within smelling distance of the bay and ocean.  And everything is okay again because you’re at the shore.  Work isn’t there – your messy room isn’t there – the drama with your ex isn’t there… It’s you, it’s a Corona and it’s the sounds and smell of the sand and the ocean and nothing can ruin that.

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The smell of beach houses.  Especially the showers.  I feel like beach houses just smell like happiness.  Save for the area where my brother and his friends are camped out, beach houses usually smell like a mix of sunshine and relaxation.  I wish Febreze would bottle a “Shore House” scent that I could spray on my couch in the city.  Or for others to spray in their cubical or cars for commuting.  When stepping into the shower at the beach the first thing you smell is sand that has been washed away and Happy Hour calling.  And the feeling of getting into the shower after a long day in the sun and washing off the sunscreen and beach breeze is just amazing.

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The shore is amazing to all senses.  I could listen to the crash of the ocean until it dried up.  I love to people watch on the beach.  The feeling of the sand between your toes or warm ocean water on your knees is magical.  I don’t really like to taste either of those… But being down the shore always seems to justify ice cream or cocktails – whichever suits you at that time.  I hope that for all of  you this is the beginning of a fabulous summer time that spikes joy out of all of your senses.

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Quick Trip to the late 1990’s

It’s finally beautiful in Philadelphia.  Here’s another thing about being retired – when my soul was sold to corporate America, I never had the opportunity to sit on top of my office in a bikini and bronze up while I worked.  So add that to the Dream I was talking about living earlier.

Anyway – I decided to grab sunscreen on my way up to my office and went under my Roommate’s sink to see what she had in there.  It’s funny because she always complains about her fair skin and how she burns so quickly but today all of her problems were solved.  You see – the last time she bought sun screen, Bill Clinton was President, TLC was at the top of the Billboard charts, the St. Louis Rams were winning the Superbowl she was in the 6th grade…

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