I like my farts. I like the sensation of farting, I like the smell my farts make and, although I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, will waft them towards me to get a better sniff.
However, I do not appreciate other people's farts.
Yesterday I spent an hour-and-a-half on a packed plane next to an exceedingly flatulent man whose bowels produced copious volumes of methane and sulphurous gases for the entire trip. While he pretended that nothing was the matter.
It was bad enough that he was obese. Not that I have anything against obese people, mind. What I do mind is finding myself squashed sideways up against the window because my neighbour's bulk spills over beyond not only their seat and our common border clearly delineated by the armrest, but also halfway across my airspace.
I had graciously offered to take the aisle seat so he and his wife could admire the view. But she said she had gammy knees and needed to stretch her legs out, leaving me wedged up against the porthole, praying it wouldn't give way under the pressure and thus suck me out into temperatures of minus 55 degrees Celsius at an altitude of 30,000 feet, as our pilot had recently informed us.
Even if they are good-looking and proferring their mammary glands, I don't like making physical contact with my fellow passengers at the best of times. And relatives apart, I don't even want to talk to the people around me. I don't care where they're from, I don't want to have to explain my accent or life story or discover theirs. I frankly couldn't give a shit about their dogs or what mind-numbingly boring cruise they are convinced I must go on.
Yes, we're on this journey together. Yes, we'd all prefer to be able to move around and respect each other's personal space. But it's not exactly a train ride to a death camp, so shut the fuck up and let me read my magazine.
Unless the person next to you is a persistent and noxious farter. And then you're on the highway to Hell.
I tried breathing through my mouth. That didn't work because Mr Windy's effluence was such that it strayed up my nose from the back of my throat, immediately setting off a gag reflex. Plan B was to simply hold my breath. But unless you're a pearl-diver that only works for a limited amount of time. And sooner rather than later you are left gasping, thus breathing in even greater volumes of contaminated air. And causing more gagging. All I could therefore do was to limit my inhalation and hope I didn't pass out, hack my lungs up or vomit in his lap.
I'm pretty sure he thought I had TB or smoked 120 cigarettes a day. He repeatedly looked over at me with some concern as I coughed and spluttered red-faced. At one point he even raised his arm as if to call the cabin attendant. But he didn't.
Probably because he had to focus on expelling his next fart.