After you've sniffed and re-sniffed the ersatz odors on display within SPUR headquarters, the scents of our living, breathing city grow irresistible. You stumble outside and the cool, foggy air fills your lungs. Your throat burns from a couple of waiters' cigarette break, then wins a reprieve via a steaming cup of coffee toted by a man hammering out some deal on a Bluetooth.

The lavender scent of a lotion or potion wafts off the hands of the young lady at the ATM; the homeless woman squatting nearby enjoys a pungent chocolate bar. Counter-intuitively, the strongest smells emanating from the flower stand are not the blossoms but the freshly cut stems floating in medicinally scented buckets of iodine-colored water.

And, finally, a see-sawing, articulated 38 Geary bus rumbles by, overpowering all 1,000-plus receptors with a belch of caustic black smoke. It's not a pleasant smell, but it is a familiar one. And, at times, that's all one could hope for.

The smells of "salt air," "stables," and "pollution" await eager noses.
Mike Hendrickson
The smells of "salt air," "stables," and "pollution" await eager noses.

For today's San Franciscans, it provides something in short supply: a sense of where you are.

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Ron Summers
Ron Summers

SF smells like urine, mixed with a little feces, with a side of mud...i think you call that a landfill

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