I walk into the hospital complex where I work through a new entrance, which opened just a few months ago. It’s a lovely entrance, with a security desk. It’s of a grand entrance – a foyer – with a lot of photos of benefactors who funded this new building creating an impressive mural lining a large part of one wall.
This entrance is the closest outside door to my office, which is in a building one block away from the hospital. On these very cold days we’re having this winter, I’m all for entering at the nearest possible entrance, and getting out of the bitter cold.
This morning, I entered the double glass sliding doors, and found that the grand staircase that I would normally climb to get into the heart of the medical center was roped off. The security guard pointed me to the elevator, but I chose instead to climb the more utilitarian stairs behind the elevators (for health reasons and for conserving electricity, I try to avoid using elevators when only ascending one or two floors).
I entered the stairwell, and was instantly hit with a sensory memory from my childhood – the smell of newly laid linoleum, and the glue that is used to attach the linoleum to the sub flooring. When I was in my early teen years, my dad worked for a carpet and linoleum dealership, and his job was to go out and lay the new flooring for the customers. I spent a summer helping him on the job, and that smell of the adhesives got deep into my nose, and my memory.
Isn’t it unexpected, the times and spaces that will bring us back memories of the past?
Take a deep breath – can you smell the adhesive?