The smell of diesel mixed with the heavy morning moisture of fog. Whether or not I’m the one going on a trip, that smell always bestows the feeling of excitement and anticipation, of something new happening, or a discovery to be made.
I think my first exposure to this smell might have been right before my first airplane flight, age 4, leaving LAX with its amazingly beautiful control tower. My family was going to visit our relatives across the country. I wore a new blue dress and spilled my iced tea all over it en route. It’s quite possible that I’d been exposed to the smell before my first journey, either picking up my dad or dropping him off to make a similar trip. It’s also likely that this smell got conflated with the unique but similar diesel smells of some of the rides at Disneyland, which would explain the almost childlike glee I still feel when I catch a whiff today.