Ever get the sense that the incense is avoiding you? You put it on your left, it wafts to the right. You put it on your right, it wafts to the left. You put it below you, it wafts around you. You put it behind you, it vaults way over you like it’s trying to bring home Olympic gold.

Meanwhile, smells you never asked for – smells, not aromas – find you just fine no matter where you are. Neighbour’s frying (always the onions). Neighbour’s baking (always the weed). Also the preferred detergent of the ghosts or spirits that decided to do some cleaning in your closed bathroom or bedroom. Else where’s that smell of detergent magically coming from when you enter? So strong you can feel the droplets on your skin, in the dark, before you’ve even switched on the light?

Oh, the vents.

The bathroom air vents from where you can hear, while sitting on the loo, deconstructing your last couple of meals, the construction noises from down the block, and the garbage truck noises from down the alley. Thankful for the latter, you are, since if smells can come in through the vents then what’s to say smells can exit through the vents? So you time your business to sync up with garbage pickup day, Mondays and Thursdays, around 11am. Of course you would prefer to just use incense, like normal people do. But it avoids you, as we know. It wants to be anywhere that you are not.

The cruelest have to be smells you walk into with no warning whatsoever. Last week, through unfortunately perfect timing, I walked SMACK into someone’s fresh, thick, complex fart in a grocery store aisle. No warning. No anticipation. Has happened to all of us. All of us have inflicted it on others. Of course immediately I try to catch who it might have been. But people never look more natural than after they’ve just laid a rotten green putrified egg in a public place. Not that there was anyone near enough to be reasonably suspected. And punished with my evil thoughts.

In such a situation the thing you have to do is hurry away fast not so much to escape the hell as to escape any chance of looking like the guilty one to the next person who comes along, gets hit by 50% of what you got (or less depending on if it’s an N95 they’re wearing) and locks you with an evil glare. Hurry away, grab the thing and go, now is not the time to price compare, to divide grams by dollars and evaluate which is the better bang for your buck.

And hope that it’s not following you, turning left when you turn left, right when you turn right, jumping ahead to announce you, dragging behind to denounce you, like deranged incense. No, a missile. A tracking missile.

Duck. Pâté, yes duck pâté is what they must have had.

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