Friday, September 30, 2005

7 degrees of Scent-oration

I have noticed a familiar pattern of aromas walking the 7 minutes from my appartment to work. A blindfolded experiment would go something like this:

Scent #1: The cold musty smell of my building hallway, spiked with lingering odors of last nights dinner stagnating outside the apartments. I am reminded of T. S. Eliot’s Preludes, “The winter evening settles down, with smell of steaks in passageways”.

Scent #2: The sickly sweet decay of rotting fruit walking past the fruit stand in the entrance to the building complex driveway.

Scent #3: Turning the corner the sweet decay is quickly replaced by the smell of raw sewerage, I have not yet deduced the source, but it is in this location regularly enough to assume that there is a broken septic tank somewhere nearby.

Scent #4: Sweeping past the motorcycle repair shop, the smell of petrol, oil, and rubber pervades the senses with relief.

Scent #5: This is too quickly replaced by the odor of the barbeque meat stand. This of course smells like a barbeque, but the scent is less like cooking a steak and more like barbequing a slab of a smelly man’s putrid armpit on a hot summer’s day.

Scent #6: The public toilet beside the footpath. Acrid urine. No further description necessary.

Scent #7: Cigarette smoke in the lobby of my college building. Being a no-smoking environment (a rare thing in china), people only go as far as the lift or stairwell of each floor for their smoke break. This of course has the effect of allowing the cigarette smell to conveniently permeate to every floor of the building.

7 scents in 7 minutes. It’s no wonder I breath through my mouth.

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