We all have ways of coping when we can’t ride – ways that may be hard for others to understand. If, in the dead of winter, your loved one sees you straddling the back of the sofa wearing goggles and gloves, leaning into imaginary turns until you try to get your knee down too far and end up low-siding off the back of the couch, it can be hard to explain.
We must allow some tolerance for the clinical neurosis of cabin fever. But when this kind of desperation meets the inventiveness of enterprising minds, what might result? Some claim to transport you to that desired place: a dirt track or a highway. A film? A book? A calendar? How about something a little more… aromatic?
Motorcycle-themed scented candles! Yes, it is for real, and we’d say too terrifyingly real. Flying Tiger Motorcycles of Maplewood, Missouri, is offering candles with the scents of “Two-Stroke Smoke” and the now backordered, “Open Road,” and apparently they can’t make them fast enough.
The very idea of scented candles is so antithetical to all things moto that the brain reels at this heresy. It seems shamefully wrong, like it violates the Pythagorean theorem – we’re talking some straight-up Non-Euclidean stuff right here. It’s enough to give one the vapors. How can the very epitome of domestic catatonia be part of biker culture?
Now, nobody doubts that motorcycling is a multi-sensory experience, and the many smells associated with it are part of the pleasure. Don’t you take a deep savory sniff in your garage every time you enter? Leathers, sweat, gasoline. Not to mention all the smells you pass on the way: mown fields, factories, tide pools, pig farms, the doobie in the car in front of you. We know that the sense of smell is closely linked to memory. If Marcel Proust were a biker, one could imagine a scene were a whiff of exhaust evokes a thousand-page flood of memories from a youth spent at the track.
So here is this little independent shop coming up with a clever, weird olfactory product. These are smells that most people find perfectly repulsive. They’ve turned the candle upside down, made it sinister. (Thankfully, they resisted the urge to put a tacky skull on it.) They claim that the “Two-Stroke Smoke” is actually made with 2-stroke oil, is certainly respectable enough. The prospect of filling living rooms with the greasy soot of unburnt hydrocarbons is delightful, right?
But wait, maybe we’re thinking about this all wrong. Maybe it’s ironic. Who can tell what’s ironic anymore? Maybe it’s some sort of wry social commentary too subtle for us to get, a joke on us. If it is, so be it.
It’s certainly not something you’ll find at Bed, Bubbles, and Bath. You’d have to be a pretty intimidating biker indeed to say, “Wait a moment while I light my motorcycle-scented candle.”