I turned into the snack aisle, which was one over from the aisle with the decorations. As I made the turn I noticed a nice-looking older lady in her late 60’s, sharply dressed, with a cart full of wrapping paper and bows. Just as I began to walk past her she must have ripped a really, really horrendous fart, because the whole aisle filled with a practically visible fog of methane that seemed to radiate out from her. Seriously, it was almost pig-gagging, and totally out of synch with the image of the well-coiffed woman across from me.
She abruptly picked up her pace and pushed her cart away from the area, casting a quick sidelong glance back in my direction. I think she was hoping someone else would walk into the aisle and blame the fart smell on me. I thought about calling out to her preemptively, something like “hey, lady, did you just fart?” What if she became indignant at my question and yelled at me for being rude? I realized that if anyone nearby heard me and the woman, they might automatically assume I was the bad guy and not the aggrieved party. Which rule would apply? What would someone just arriving at the intersection of snack foods and Christmas decorations think—that the guy who smelt it, dealt it, or that the one who denied it, supplied it?
I put my head down and hurried away in the opposite direction, my Christmas spirit somewhat subdued, but not lost.