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Apropos of Nothing: Smoke Got In My . . . Nose

I have a regular meeting every Tuesday morning which is in a building about 30 minutes from where I work. I walk there, even in the winter. There’s a great fair trade coffee place along the way that is way better (though not cheaper) than the Starbucks from canisters sold in the building’s cafeteria. In any case, a weird thing happened along the way. I thought I could smell coal smoke.

I’ve visited Scotland twice, once backpacking before university and once with my wife and best bud before the kids came. Coal smoke is something attached to Scotland in my mind. My aunt had a coal fireplace with a watertank over it (behind the wall of course) which provided all the hot water, including that used in the radiators for heating.

Coal smoke, even though I know it is polluting, brings back a flood of comforting memories, of the hominess of my aunt’s place, of villages passed through as I hitchhiked through the Highlands, of morning with a coffee (a bad one, granted) standing outside some hostel or bed and breakfast, contemplating the day ahead of me and its adventures.

Weird how a scent can do that.

That coffee shop on the walk? I Deal Coffee at 176 Dalhousie St.