Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cheap incense

I was walking down the street, minding my own business, when WHAM! I was hit upside the nose with a brick wall of incense. It was streaming out of a new age shop like it was late for prayer circle.

Certain places, I've come to realize, all have the same Eau de NO: head shops, belly dancing boutiques, new age bookstores, a free outdoor concert. Whether in stick or cone form, cheap incense smells like a love child sired by a hippie’s VW van and someone who’s all up in Bikram yoga’s grill.

Incense is used for meditation or ritual. Fine. I grew up with heavy incense being swung around in church, but at least it had a lot of room to dissipate. But when you are lighting up sandalpoop and franknoncense in your chockablock shop, I'm not feeling any closer to the Divine. I am, however, edging closer to unconsciousness.

Please stop buying your incense in bulk, else I might have to beat you with a bundle of joss sticks, all the while breathing through my mouth, of course.

And I'm not just blowing smoke.

Related posts: patchouli and namaste.

(For lovely, subtle Japanese incense, try Asakichi in San Francisco's Japantown. They wrap even the smallest bundle—I like their cedar incense—in beautiful paper.)

(photo: buddhagrams.com)


4 comments:

Jewels Diva® said...

I HATE the smell of incense, good or bad, cheap or expensive.

UGH!

Patty said...

I hate it too. At our local mall there is an Incense kiosk that has incense burning all day. It stinks up all the stores in that area and I can't even stand to walk to that end of the mall. I have written several complaints and I fail to understand why cigarette smoking is banned in enclosed public buildings, but incense is ok.

Parabolic Muse said...

incense is gross. they just can't smell it any more because it's gross.

Yet Another Steve said...

Fie! I'm a leftover from the '60s and I love the smell of SOME incense, though of course not all of it. What nearly makes me gag is entering a department store through the wrong door and having to pass through the perfume-counter gauntlet, or the kind of fussy-tchotchke store that always reeks from a hundredfold overdose of potpourri. (And, for that matter, SOAP shops where all the aggressive scents clash mightily with each other, forming a sort of lethal amalgam that reads only as Acrid.)

By comparison with these, a passing whiff of Nag Champa is just a cozy, faintly spicy madeleine for the nose.