I was walking through the “underground” garage this morning on the way into the building. As I entered I was immediately hit with that weird effect of having a smell slam me back in time. It was this, what I really consider, nasty mix of tire rubber, burning oil, gas fumes, and cigarette smoke. It really is a nasty combination, but at the same time it’s really comforting.

You see, I spent a lot of time in my grandfather’s garage either just hanging out or learning how to repair damned near anything that could be repaired. Most of this stuff was cars or trucks that needed some love, or small engines that had just been beat to hell by their owners. Either way, there was always that smell, most of the time mixed with some flavor of welding equipment off-gassing. But, the one thing that brings it all back is the smell of cigarette smoke.

I hated the smell and still do. I remember coughing in restaurants, coughing in the back seat of my grandparents car, sniffling or coughing in the cabin at the lake. But, the one place I didn’t cough was the garage. Why? Hell, I don’t know. Same smell, closed area, a few packs per day.

Anyway, that same smell that I hated and that made me feel ill, now brings back memories of some really great times. I don’t remember the exact day my grandmother died, it was 25 years ago now, but it’s coming up very soon. I do remember the day my grandfather died, but that only 15 years ago. I miss them both and that crazy ass garage smell reminds me of them every day.