E@L was in Australia, 8 - Feb 2015 - 13 Mar 2015. Phew, glad that's over. Working mostly, but 10 days off as well. Perth, Townsville(!?), Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane.
To have paid so much for every drink and every meal (chicken parmagiana [sic], three types!) for all that time. Man, that country is expensive.
Expenses: big bill...
And then, woah, E@L comes back to pay a mere $23 for his share of a massive feast of Schezuan specialities and loads of beer (with ice) on the streets of Chinatown, Singapore. OK a lot of the dishes were vegetarian (or close to, but hey, we are talking volume here.) Awesome! Man, this country is cheap.
And the few the remaining Dionysians walk up to Ang Sang Hill Rd and E@L pays $15 for that yap for doh (one for the road). Outrageous! Man, this country is expensive.
Meanwhile, on the plane back, earlier that day, IKYN, he's eating his dinner of eye filet, roasted root vegetables and creamy mash with a glass of Bordeaux (what, you good people of Singapore, etc, don't think E@L flies cattle class on long hops do you?), when a sense of nausea creeps up on E@L, a slowly enfolding miasma of awful, permeating stink... It takes a minute or so to register that something is wrong in fact. E@L is just sitting there, and the meal doesn't taste right, the wine lacklustre (it is only French).
Literally, the atmosphere here is bad. It dawns eventually that he is becoming enwrapped in a fearful cloud of noisome wrongness and that something really smells!
He doesn't know where the smell is coming from initially, whom is the source, the culprit, except that stench is of human origin. No shit not, piss... FEET. Like his own feet get when he has been wearing old sandals in the rain. Pong. Pure and simple, sickening and foul.
And a roll of fawn cotton socks, monogrammed with a brand if not the owner's name, strikes him as incongruous.
Swear to God, the guys sitting next to him has taken the complementary pair of useless sock/slippers they give you in long hauls in Business Class, but rather than place them over his socks, he has taken the socks off, tucked them into a ball and plonked them ... wait for it ... on the tray for the small storage slot on the back of the seat in front of him. Right out in the open, up high.
Here: to give you an idea.
What the bromodrotic fuck?
What sort of ignorant creature would do this, you ask of E@L?
Let's test E@L's powers of description. Well, first of all he's a man a bit older than E@L (past middle-age by now); pale skin, loose around the jawline; light hair, curly and thinning; a bit of a paunch but no more than you'd expect; steel-glasses; well-dressed (second time in a few days well-dressed men have offended E@L: another story in Brisbane re: locked keys in car, need bus fare) in pale slacks and two-tone polo shirt; and he's eating the crispy skinned cod filet. Perhaps that's why he doesn't notice?
But when you think about it, why wouldn't a man who looks intelligent enough, mature enough, successful enough, why wouldn't he realise that it is simply rude, inconsiderate, and woefully ignorant to place your socks up somewhere in view while you and others are eating. This is the sort of thing a mother should have whupped out of him as a youngster.
Manners. This man is bereft of manners.
The feet can be a source of great offense in Asia as you know, even beyond power to demolish the olfactory aesthetics of the moment. Typically people have outside shoes which they leave at the door, and inside shoes, or they go besocked or barefoot. Dirty, profane, disgusting, bad luck. You shouldn't point with your toes, or place your soles of your feet (or shoes) in the direction of certain South-East Asians, particularly those who are Buddhist.
[There is some interesting (to some) Japanese porn about feet - footjobs, enejaculated toes, the like. What is it with the Japanese?]
E@L shakes his head. It must be the socks, of course. Yes, no doubt: This nauseating fog is a characteristic of a uniquely sock/foot emanation.
He doesn't get angry, he gets mildly offended - hey, he IS mildly offended. "Excuses me sir, are they your socks?" With a slight twist of bitter disgust at the end.
Untaken aback, he leans forward, pops them under his nose, and says, very convinced, "They don't smell."
E@L only partially stifles a guffaw of incredulity. "I beg to differ," counters E@L.
The man drops his socks to the floor, and as if to dismiss E@L, continues to eat and watch his movie.
So, E@L shakes his head again. And slowly, his appetite challenged, he chews into a chunk steak as it were cardboard, orders another vin cru bourgeois, ignores the ignorant savage right back at (or away from, it would have to be) him.
Well, yes, of course it was the socks. With them out of public view the foul air gradually dissipates and, E@L presumes, is recycled - to offend someone else in the plane, probably down at the rear end where lighter gases, such as body odour and (once upon a time) cigarette smoke, slowly driven back with the plane's slight accelerations, gather. Back where you'd think the unwashed and malodorous would typically reside and not up in the classy end where businessmen, and E@L, not to mention the jerk who was beside him, prefer to sit. Safely ensconced, unassailed by fell aromas. You'd think.
After the meal, the man unapologetically but not rudely it must be said, gathered his stuff, stepped over E@L's discretely shod feet and moved to an unoccupied seat by the window at the rear of the section. Open the window man, let the stink out.
Fuck him, smelly old