Moving on...so I drove through Mickie D's for a double-death bomb, double cheeseburger and a sweet tea with lemon (my fruit allotment). I know, definitely not the healthiest meal for an aging, middle-soft man with the medical history I carry, but I was hungry folks! For $2, it's also really hard to beat.
As I pull up to the drive-thru window, I'm met and overcome by a familiar aroma that immediately rushed me back 30 years like a mental time machine.
McDonald's was my first corporate job. I started when I was fifteen years old on the opening crew of a new store that has since been torn down and replaced by a newer version...ouch. 30 years. Yet the smells coming though the window lit my limbic system up like the operating control board at a nuclear power plant. The nostalgia was euphoric as I mentally drifted back to a time in my life that is now more clearly defined by the oft heard phrase 'Enjoy it young man...these are the best years of your life.'
Science tells us the olfactory bulb is intimate with the amygdala (which processes emotions) and the hippocampus (which is responsible for associative learning- think Rosetta Stone). But despite all the close wiring, it still takes conditioned learning for smells to trigger a memory. The link is formed when you first smell a new odor and it becomes closely associated with a person, event, place, or even a specific moment. The connection is unlike any other connection in our marvelous, wondrous bodies.
Testing this tidbit of biological hypothesis is really quite simple. If time allows the very next time you take in an odor that triggers a past memory, stop what you're doing and close your eyes. Try to recall all the association with that memory building up layer after layer. It's truly amazing how much detail you can recall from your long-term memory. Be sure to do this with a good memory too. No sense in going and reopening old wounds...hey...that probably explains why there are times Mrs. Tony C is ticked at me, and I don't have a clue in the world what about.
I need to keep the same candles from our honeymoon burning at the house all the time. I've worked her amygdala and hippocampus overtime on many other occasions with my hakuna matata attitude. God love her...
(If you're waiting for it, I'm not elaborating on cooked cabbage and any associated odor memories...I'm just not that crude people.)