Thursday, February 26, 2015
I've known Aunt Chris since I was a kid, and though she's not my aunt by blood, she is part of the best-represented family on Nosy Girl (her daughter Katie, son Joe, and niece Jenny have all been featured here), and one of my favorite families on earth. If you can't make it to outer space to hear Chris beautifully belt it out with Freddy and the Blifftones, you can follow the band here and hopefully catch them soon in Milwaukee.
What do you smell like?
I smell like teen spirit. I recently joined a fantastic band, Freddy and the Blifftones, as a “chick singer,” as Freddy likes to call it. Total serendipity; long story; dream come true. When I was a teenager, Freddy and the Freeloaders used to play at our high school dances—and now through a series of unexpected confluences, I am in the latest incarnation of the band. Imagine the smell of that—pure oxygen all mixed up with rhythm and blues, reggae, rock ‘n’ roll, show tunes, folk music, gospel and weekly practices in Pete the drummer’s basement with some of the best people I know. When I come home from band practice, I smell happy and endorphinized, and it takes several episodes of DVR’d Real Housewives to un-jazz the musical high. When I come home from a gig, I smell like spilled beer and laughter and sweaty hugs.
I sometimes smell festive, as when I spring for a real eau de something, usually figgy with an undertone of something else green, like tea or cucumber or peony—my favorite flower. Our old house had a real Victorian garden, with peony bushes, and our rooms were filled with that lushness for weeks in late spring. Now we live in a small condo overlooking beauteous Lake Michigan, with its metro/lakefront smells. I guess I smell urban-y, from walking through the neighborhood of restaurants and bookstores and coffee shops and rich people and skateboarders and people from St. John’s with their garland-festooned walkers and homeless people pushing carts of cans who never fail to wish a good morning and a God-bless.
What do you like to smell?
Attics. Basements. Old dimestores. They all make me have to pee. In a good, excited way. Babies’ feet. The necks of my kids, when they were little, after a day of being outside. Forests. Snow. That wisp of smoke from a blown-out kitchen match. My beloved grandma’s empty real bottle of real Chanel Number 5—because it smells like her, not like the perfume, to me. Our little cottage up north, because it always smells the same when we open it up in April—indescribably ready, steady, and fraught with the unknowability of the season to come—and the occasional dead mouse.