I returned last night from a weekend in the Adirondack mountains of upper New York State. The days were intensely satisfying, and I returned to New York City buzzing with new energy. For the last leg of my return trip, I boarded the N train to commute from Queens to Manhattan to Brooklyn, and I had a very peculiar experience. I had about an hour's ride ahead of me, but my smartphone was dead and I had no book to read. What I did have was a bright red pouch containing samples of oud that I'd brought to the mountains. I'd never worn oud on the subway before, but it was after 10pm and the subway car was not not very crowded, so I thought, "why not occupy myself with a swipe?" To my surprise, my complimentary sample of Nagaland Imperiale still had at least one good dose left, so I popped it open and gave my left arm a nice, thick swipe. The train was air conditioned and smelled quite sterile, so the sharp, spicy, slightly cheesy barn aroma quickly infiltrated the space. At the next stop, a couple boarded the train, and one immediately squinted and puckered his nose, noticing something a bit raunchy about the air. I gulped, thinking I might have crossed a line. But the loudness of this Naga quickly settled down, and within minutes I was enjoying the smooth glow of oud without worrying that my fellow passengers were disturbed. What happened next was distinctly odd. I transferred from one line to the next, and this new train was more crowded; there weren't any available seats and I had to stand. I was wary that my animalic aura might be harder to hide, and I kept glancing at people around me to see if they might be offended. I didn't see any reactions, but I did notice a young woman carrying a small shopping bag that read "fine exotic scents." Then I looked up and noticed that the entire car was plastered wall-to-wall with advertisement for a company called "Scentbird," a subscriptions service that offered 30-day samples of designer fragrances for 15$/month. How strange! In all my years commuting in New York, not once had I noticed a person carrying a shopping bag that was so clearly from a fragrance retailer, nor had i ever seen an advertisement for anything relating to designer or exotic perfumes, but all it took was one swipe and suddenly I was surrounded by scent. Sure enough, the young woman and her boyfriend sat right next to me and removed a few vials of fragrance. They looked excitedly at the vials and before proceeding to slather their arms with something fruity and floral (certainly not oud), sniffing eachother all the way home, giggling and enjoying the scent. If I were a bit less skeptical, I might have thought that my swipe transported me into a dimension of perfume-themed entertainment. Curious indeed.