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Method Daily Shower Cleaner, ylang ylang scent, smells just like my Nana’s Aqua Net hairspray. This provides the best ever incentive for me to clean my bathroom. When I spray this stuff on the sink or floor or toilet (why confine it to the shower?) I am transported back to my Nana’s bathroom in the house on Chestnut Street in High Point where I watched her get ready for church.

At the time I did not think her hairspray smelled particularly good, or particularly bad. I just ducked out of the way to avoid being caught in the aerosol draft. She was not using the hairspray to create any kind of fancy ‘do, but rather to cement in place the curls she had created the night before with those little pink foam rollers and bobby pins in a ritual that I did not quite understand but enjoyed observing.

I did not even know what ylang ylang was until I happened to buy this shower spray, and I’m positive my Nana didn’t know her hair spray was scented as such. Ylang ylang is apparently prized for its aphrodisiac properties, among other virtues. An obvious choice for a bathroom cleaning product, right?

For Hanukkah last year Zeke received a Paw Patrol washcloth that was mysteriously scrunched into a tiny block that you drop in water and watch expand. It was packaged with a little bar of handmade green soap that smells just like my Papa. I have no idea what the scent is. The soap wasn’t labeled and it was made by a small business whose name I don’t remember. But I love washing my hands with it. I also have a little bottle of English Leather cologne that belonged to my Papa. When I need a fix I uncap the wooden stopper and put a few drops on my fingertips. 

Coming across these smells unexpectedly is like when Harry Potter sees his long-dead parents in the mirror of erised. They’re right there, smiling, waving, with their hands on his shoulders, but no more alive than they have been for a decade. But it feels like they are right there. Tantalizingly, reassuringly present, however fleeting. For me it’s an olfactory comfort fix.

Now excuse me while I go scrub the sink and wash my hands. 

MAKING 
Every time you press record,

Lay yourself bare

Wide-eyed heart exposed

Without saying a word

Or singing a note

Send your soul into the world in a small plastic box

That’s likely to crack 
LISTENING 
Sliding the tape into the car stereo

Driving to your destination along a new musical route

Carefully mapped out for you

The soundtrack defining a moment

Serendipity when song matches sky
Read into each lyric what you want to hear 

Or wonder what it all means 

Or if it even means anything at all
Unspooling of a feeling, of a story, 

Of a shared past or hopeful future
The surprise of an old favorite 

Curiosity of a fresh find 

Comfort of the perfect tune

Ease of the right flow

Joy of a good beat

Energy of a track you rewind and repeat 

and turn up and up and up

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