Have you ever tried to surreptitiously consume food in the library? Lunch seems hours away, you’ve been studying since 10 am. Every poem, equation and report you attempt to read mentions eating a peach or counting a plum. If only you had a plum, you think, gazing out of the window.
The temptation soon becomes too much, so you gently pull some prawn crackers from your bag (courtesy of last night’s takeaway), hide a small pile under a textbook and avoid the glaring eye contact from the keen beans throwing you out the window with their imaginary telekinesis or the curious ones that wonder why this section of the library smells like prawns at this ungodly time.
Unfortunately for students of Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, someone’s secret library snack caused a stink far worse than day-old prawn crackers, when a rotting durian resulted in hundreds being evacuated from the building.
As reported in the BBC, more than 500 people were required to leave the university library this weekend, after students and teachers reported a suspected gas leak. Firefighters were called to the building to investigate the source of the odour, and eventually discovered that the smell wasn’t toxic, but a durian fruit left rotting in a cupboard.
A statement from the Melbourne Fire Brigade said “to store potentially dangerous chemicals,” but “after a comprehensive search, firefighters identified the smell was not chemical gas but gas generated from rotting durian, an extremely pungent fruit which had been left rotting in a cupboard”.
Although the pungent durian smell disseminated through the building via the air conditioning system, the library had now reopened, and the fruit removed. There are no reports as to who was responsible for the durian, or why-in-the-name-of-all-that-is-holy anyone would bring a giant, funky-smelling fruit to nibble on while studying.
The spiky tropical delicacy, local to South East Asia, is infamous for its notable smell and strong taste, and has also been described as smelling “like sh*t” and tasting “like farts.”