Thursday, August 21, 2008

Have you smelled your city lately?

Now honestly, I don't think I've ever heard this question asked before, but I'm posing it to everyone out there: Have you smelled your city lately?

It's summer, and in Los Angeles county that usually means school is out and people are out and about during the day in their cars. I know I certainly used to be. I would get in, flip the dial to "MAX A/C" and drive begrudgingly to wherever I was headed thinking about how much this trip was costing me in gas money. I would get there as soon as possible and re-circulate my cold air through my Mustang to keep the hot air out and the cool air in.

Well I've got a new trick, and it keeps me much happier. Since purchasing a 2008 Vespa and rididng it to work and around town, I've discovered something amazing: Monrovia, Duarte, and Bradbury have the most amazing scents!

I'm not even making this up people. The truth is that on a simple ride to work where I used to go straight from point A (home) to point B (work), I now meander through the streets of Duarte, Monrovia, and Bradbury looking for new things to smell as I putter past them. Now there are things I am not fond of like garbage trucks or street sweepers (ick!), but most of the time I can pick out a few key scents on my little journey that make it enjoyable.

Here's some things to look for:
1. The smell of a person watering their lawn. I know this may seem boring, but it has such a distinct and fragrant smell that I have to slow as I pass any sprinklers. It reminds me of the first day of cheer camp.
2. Horse stables. Now some smell better than others (believe me!) but there is a farm in Bradbury called the Irish Rose Farm and it has an amazing smell of cut hay and freshly brushed ponies that is absolutely delightful.
3. Blooming gardens. Sometimes I can pick out stuff like roses, fresia, magnolia, etc., but most days it is just the simple beauty of driving past a wonderfully stocked garden and inhaling the delightful aroma of the inhabitant's hard work.
4. BBQ's. I smell people BBQ'ing on my way home a lot lately. It keeps me grounded and reminds me that we live in Southern California, where BBQ's are second nature and just becuase Labor Day is around the corner does NOT mean that we have to stop BBQ'ing because our weather doesn't get bad!
5. Bakeries. I love passing by a couple of the small bakeries on Myrtle avenue in the morning. I can honestly smell the goodness that everyone gets to enjoy all day long. If I really want a treat I can drive by Bloomfield Bakery on Foothill Blvd. on the days that they make cinnamon buns. That smells sinful!
6. The weather. I know this sounds odd, but the cities smell completely different in the morning hours than they do at noon and again at dusk. In the morning on my way to coffee or work, I find the smell dew-like and sweet. Cooling and soothing. Around lunch time when I step out, I find that the heat has a created a crisp smell of fresh air in Monrovia and I love putting up Myrtle with all of it's trees to clean my air and keep my lungs in working order. The evening is honestly my least favorite time of day, drivers are anxious to get home and the streets smell more like car exhaust and oil. I find this part of the day to be grueling and less enjoyable than any other. I'm still looking for a good smell in the afternoon and evening time other than the BBQ's and cookouts in the housing areas.

So to all of you air conditioning addicts out there, turn off your A/C today and roll down your windows on your ride home or to work. Take side streets. Drive through housing tracks. Take the long road. It may seem kind of inane at first, but it's really therapeutic if you give a chance and just breathe.

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