Sometimes sharing an exhaust vent for the kitchen is nice.  I can smell whatever the neighbors are cooking, and it smells DELICIOUS.  Like when they make breakfast with sausage links and bacon, and I can smell the spicy, savory goodness and pretty much share breakfast with them because I swear the scent particles in the air are thick enough to eat so I stand in my kitchen licking the air.  Ahem.  However, it is not nice when they burn things, because I’ll be in a different part of my domicile, innocently reading articles and blog posts or even an actual book when the acrid scent stings my nose.  You know the smell, just a hint of SOMETHING IS WRONG, tickling your olfactory regions.  I sniff the air to be sure, a small jolt of adrenaline zipping down my spine and to my fingertips.  Yup, smoke.  Something burning.  Crap.  Did I leave a burner on?  Yes, the teakettle is still on warm.  Is it out of water?  Is there something on the bottom of it that is now burning, that hasn’t burned in the last hour of being on the stove?  No.  Hmmm, is the oven on?  Can the smoke get to the smoke alarm in the bedroom?  Is it coming from the bathroom, like before?  Can I even see any smoke in the house?  Is it coming from that stupid, annoying common vent?  And the thing is, it NEVER smells like it is coming from the vent.  It will smell bad in the living room on the floor and everywhere else, but the smell will not be notably stronger if I stick my face close to the vent.  A foot away, yes.  So I get to sit here, having nasty visions of the back of the stove igniting somehow or something going wrong with the fridge and shorting out and lighting something on fire.  I get to plan for that eventuality and try to figure out what I would save, and also it’s raining today so when my apartment inevitably burns down in the next hour or so, I’ll have to go stand in the rain with our belongings that I want to save.  Great.  Thanks a bunch, neighbors!  Now make me some air-bacon!

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