A Proustian moment is when you do something like dip a cookie in tea and eat it and BOOM a three volume novel flies out of your ass. I get these a lot. Some recent ones:
- Listening to even a bit of Hüsker Dü’s “Warehouse: Songs and Stories” sends me directly back to the worst of my depression of the early 1990s, with a physical sensation in the pit of my stomach and everything.
- Similarly, the diesel roar of a Santa Monica City Bus going by my office window drops me in the time of my life where I was frequently waiting for a bus, or chasing one, or sitting in one staring out the window. A sense of helpless frustration wells up in me.
- Burnt microwave popcorn is a ticket back to the UCLA dormitories 20 years ago, going through the lobby and hearing the top 40 station, seeing the pizza guys arriving, on my way home from late nights studying or some rock ‘n’ roll show.
- The smell of nasty old cigarette ashes makes me feel hopeful, excited, as though I’m about to do something new and rewarding. Because the computer room in junior high school, where I fell in love with automata, was also the math teachers’ break room.
- Clove cigarettes are the 1980s and live music and excitement. Despite the fact that I never smoked them.