My car is an alchemy lab…

…gone horribly, horribly wrong.

A couple weeks back, I went shopping. I bought the usual assortment of stuff–an enormous pile of TV dinners, kitty litter, bananas, and apple cider. Generally speaking, any time I go shopping, this will be the contents of my basket when I’m done. The TV dinners are there because I can’t cook; the kitty litter is there because I like tormenting the cat (he hates when I change the litter, and always looks at me like “Noooo! I worked so hard on that! Don’t take it away!”), the apple cider is there because it’s better than Coke (which tastes, when you get right down to it, something like malted battery acid), and the bananas are there because bananas are tasty and delicious.

This isn’t actually a post about my shopping habits; that’s just the backstory.

I went shopping immediately prior to my last departure to Chicago to see dayo. In my haste and desperate desire to rush to the airport, I inadvertently left the bananas in my car; they had fallen, you see, and I did not see them.

On my way to the airport, I stopped at McDonald’s. My orders at McDonald’s, like the contents of my grocery basket, tend to be rather static as well: a quarter pounder with cheese, no onion1, extra pickle, large fry, medium iced tea.

The God of McDonald’s Drive Through (a very minor position in the general pantheon of the universe, many steps below the God of Lesbian Tentacle Porn and only half a step up from the God of Things that Go Squish when you Step On Them) did not smile on me that day–though, to be fair, the The God of McDonald’s Drive Through rarely smiles, given the constant ribbing from other gods, especially the haughty, highfalutin’ gods of Important Stuff like the God of Assassins and the God of Proton Decay2…but I digress.

Anyway, the God of McDonald’s Drive Through saw fit to bless me with a quarter pounder with cheese, extra onion, extra pickle, which as anyone who knows me can testify, is almost but not quite the antithesis of a decent Franklin burger. I carefully picked off the onions, left them in the bag, and ate my burger.

At the airport, I left the bag of onions in my car, together with the aforementioned forgotten bananas, and went out of town for four days.

There is a line in the original Star Wars movie, which comes about midway through the movie when our heros, in their desperate attempts to escape a bunch of Imperial Storm Troopers who can scarcely hit the side of a barn door at point-blank range, dive down a garbage chute. Quite why there’s a garbage chute in the middle of a hallway leading down to the cell blocks is something I’ve never really understood…but again, I digress.

The line is “What an incredible smell you’ve discovered.” The clever reader will immediately intuit why I mention this.

The scent profile in my car changed over the next week or so in some very interesting and complex ways, at one point resembling nothing so much as old coffee grounds. I don’t know how onions and banana combine to form old coffee grounds; I suppose this is one of those things, like the fractional quantum Hall effect3, I may never fully grasp.

However, I am now pleased to report, gentle reader, that at this point, the scent profile of my car has now decayed to a level at which it is undetectable, at least by me, and this pleases me.

1 Every year in this world, thousands of species of plant and animal life are rendered extinct through the actions of man. Why can’t onions be one of them?

2 The God of Proton Decay is even more hypothetical than the other gods, yet this still does not stop him from razzing the God of McDonald’s Drive Through at company picnics. You’d think he’d have more respect, considering that McDonald’s actually exists and proton decay, at least so far, has not been demonstrated to exist at all, but no.

3 Those silly, silly phycists used to believe that the fractional quantum Hall effect could be explained by a hierarchical model. Quasi-electrons or quasi-holes excited out of the Laughlin ground state would condense into higher order fractions, known as daughter states e.g. starting from the 1/3 parent state addition of quasi-electrons leads to 2/5 and quasi-holes leads to 2/7. Some physicists will believe anything!