Tucson-my neighborhood 5/21/08 7:45pm

I had recorded little notes on green sheets of paper, noting smells and some memories attached to them. Two days later, I’m in LA at a beach and the paper fly from my notebook into the big unforgiving sea…So I’m documenting my smell walk from memory. I’m a native Tucsonan so it’s not too hard to recall. I began my walk after yoga on tuesday, broadway/10th street and proceeded up fourth avenue to university/stone. Along the way I smelt creosote, musty, oleander, shit(side walk guy), piss, bars(overly strong sanitizers, perfume, alcohol, cigarettes, sex), Gasoline(cars,fumes,pollution), dirt, dust, fresh laundry, apartments(mom), trash(unshowered funk), plastic, fire, pizza and leather. Creosote reminds me of wonderful desert rain and wins for number one Tucson smell. I keep some near the shower head in my bathroom so that when the water comes on the creosote makes it smell like rain…thus I also associate creosote with relaxation and being nice and clean. Oleanders are in bloom now, they’re everywhere. I used to have a bunch of them growing around my old house and I was told for the longest time not to put them in my mouth because they’re poisonous. The smell of shit in combination with walking on the sidewalk reminded me of a time two years ago, I was on my way to a protest against some unfair immigration bill and in a hurry I almost tripped over this man sitting on the sidewalk. I looked and his pants were down and he was kinda propping himself up with his legs out in front of him, he was in the process or just done shitting. He looked up at me, all dirty, tired and ashamed and apologized to me. He apologized to me. I felt so horrible. I felt so embarrassed to be a member of society treats “the homeless” as less then human. Fourth avenue, no matter how much I love it, smells constantly heavy of “the night before”. Bars emit a lasting odor, and the people in them spray so much crap on themselves it scars people who walk by. Then you have the overly strong sanitizer to try to balance out the vomit and perfume. After that I passed some apartments they had that indescribable apartment smell that reminds me of my mom and how some people never stay anywhere for long. Also near the apartments came the laundry smell, probably my favorite human-made smell.