Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ooh, That Voodoo That You Do


I came home one afternoon to find these feathers taped to the wall along the stairwell. Chicken feathers. Maybe they keep some evil spirit at bay. Or maybe they are supposed to make an elevator magically appear! Many of our neighbors have similar fears or wishes. Most burn incense at the base of their door and put lucky Chinese characters on their doors. Some days I have to cover my mouth to get up the stairs without choking on the acrid smoke and pungent smell. Heaven forbid one of the neighbors come down the stairs puffing away on a stinky Chinese death stick! (Cigarette). Our neighbor on the 7th floor is the worst or perhaps she has only been there longer than everyone else. Her incense cup is overflowing and every morning, she puts three new burning sticks in. When we rented this place, I found two cut water bottles full of incense sticks in the kitchen. I was worried they had brought the heebee jeebees in and quickly asked the landlord what they were for. He said they were simply to remove the new construction smell from the rooms. I asked again to be sure, adding that maybe they were part of some Buddhist ritual. He assured me they were only for deodorizing. I am sure I could have found something more fragrant than burning sticks. I took them out in the hall way and put them next to our neighbors and then thought better of it. They are still sitting in the window sill on the 6th floor. No one wants them and I keep forgetting to take them all the way down. At least they didn't shoot firecrackers off when we moved in to rid the apartment of evil. See, there is always a silver lining!