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Opinion >  Column

Paul Turner: Plug your nose and go along for the ride

UPDATED: Tue., May 22, 2018

FILE – Grammy-award winning R&B artist Ciara surprises drive-thru customers by giving away free McSkillet(TM) Burritos at the McDonald's(R) 50th Anniversary Restaurant in downtown Chicago. During the two-day national sampling event, McDonald's estimates over two million McSkillet Burritos were given away. (BUSINESS WIRE)
FILE – Grammy-award winning R&B artist Ciara surprises drive-thru customers by giving away free McSkillet(TM) Burritos at the McDonald's(R) 50th Anniversary Restaurant in downtown Chicago. During the two-day national sampling event, McDonald's estimates over two million McSkillet Burritos were given away. (BUSINESS WIRE)

It might not be the most accurate reflection of diversity trends in Spokane.

It probably has more to do with dining habits and the evolving restaurant scene than with this city’s racial/ethnic profile.

But the food smells that permeate people’s cars in Spokane have changed over the years.

The nose knows. It used to be burgers, burgers and more burgers.

Now it’s burgers, burgers and Thai takeout. Or some variation on that increasingly eclectic theme.

Depending on whose vehicles you ride in, you might get a whiff of any number of interesting cuisines.

Once again, Spokane is marching boldly into the future.

I don’t know if anyone has done studies. But I would guess the aroma of takeout Mexican or doggie-bag Italian lingers long after the food has been either consumed or removed from the car.

You don’t have to treat your SUV or truck like a garbage scow for the scent of spicy peanut sauce to saturate the interior for a long time.

Of course, not all of us keep the inside of our cars immaculate. I had a Spokane friend years ago who was neat and tidy in pretty much all aspects of her life. But when she opened her car door, it was wise to step back.

Wadded-up fast-food bags and wrappers redolent of distant caloric memories were apt to spill out onto the pavement like a grease-stained wave.

Riding with her was like wearing a fragrance called “Order Up!”

And this was before sushi and hummus were regarded as standard fare.

Anyway, I bring this up because we are closing in on peak car-smell season. The heat is on, as they say.

Many years ago, I shared a number of readers’ stories about children throwing up in new cars. You might think there would be an extremely limited number of such tales. You would be wrong.

I recall stories of vomiting in the car’s air-conditioner vents, on the dashboard, on the back-seat carpeting and in every conceivable crevice of the seats.

Adios, new-car smell. But I digress.

The connection between food and our car culture is long-standing and well-established. Surely though, this contemporary buffet of trapped-in-the-vehicle aromas says something about Spokane.

Maybe it says we’re headed wherever America is headed. Whether you like that is up to you.

But you might want to roll down a window while we make the trip.

Invented in Spokane

So OK, you already know Father’s Day was cooked up in Spokane.

In fact, if you had a nickel for every time local media had mentioned it, well, you know how that goes.

But here’s the thing. There’s a good chance someone out there does not know it. Someone who recently moved here perhaps. Or maybe the near-mythic basement dweller who comes as close to knowing absolutely nothing as anyone can.

In any event, I’m sure you would agree those individuals have a right to learn about Father’s Day’s Spokane roots. And I have a hunch that between now and June 17, it will come up.

Just wondering

Which of your body parts remind you to take parking lot speed bumps slowly?

How many times would you guess police officers get lied to in a typical day?

How did you react to the speed limit being 55, all those years ago?

How old were your kids when they started rolling their eyes about things you did or said?

Adopting the Nova Scotia model

Saturday night out at the airport, an older man and a younger woman were seated not far from the baggage carousels, apparently waiting to greet someone arriving in Spokane.

The woman was talking about some upcoming travel plans of her own. She mentioned a trip that would involve flying to Salt Lake City, then on to Toronto and then to Halifax.

At some point, she used Halifax’s nickname, “Hali,” pronounced like actress Halle Berry’s first name.

It occurred to me that a nickname for Spokane could be one solution to the age-old city name pronunciation confusion.

Encouraging people to say “Spokie” might eliminate the familiar stumbles over Spo-Kan vs. Spo-Cane.

Though I suppose some will always prefer to say “The Can.”

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