At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Friday, August 08, 2014

WELL-MATURED GRAVITAS

When I still lived in North Beach and worked down on Polk Street at the Indian Restaurant, there was an apartment I used to visit late at night on my way home, in an alleyway off a street lined with trees. An old friend lived there. An insomniac.

And by old, I mean elderly. Aged. Of years.
Dessicated, fossilized, creaky.
An antique.

If you didn't know better, you might describe him as a sour old grumpus. He ate at the restaurant occasionally, then belly-ached about acid indigestion and stiffness in his joints, before mentioning that he would now head to a bar and ogle girlies.
Nice lively little blonde girlies!
With boobs, man, boobs!

Drop by after you get off, and I'll tell you if I scored. I've got a full liquor cabinet, and tobacco. Though if I have scored, you can knock and knock, but I probably shan't answer; far too busy!
The whisky will all be gone anyway.

Given that he could quote Chaucer and Alexander Pope, and seemed in other ways a real person, I naturally eventually took him up on the offer. He'd still be up long after midnight, and he'd make a pot of tea. Tea is always good when there's a glass of single malt, and some tobacco.

No, he never scored with any of the girls he had ogled. He ascribed that to their being unappreciative of literature, as well as addicted to cheap cigarettes. Real people smoked Marlin Flake or Escudo. That latter was no longer available, and while he gladly shared the sheets of Rattray's dark intoxicating flake, the delicate discs of spuncut tobacco were to be carefully hoarded, selfishly and greedily. Here, have some more Scotch and tea. Good tea, huh? Freed, Teller, and Freed.

[Freed, Teller, and Freed was a purveyor of coffee and tea on Polk Street at number 1326, corner of Austin Alley, which is now called Frank Norris Street. The Freed brothers and Mr. Teller started an institution that lasted over a century, and was much beloved by generations of cognoscenti. Frank Norris was a notorious anti-Semite and scumbag, inexplicably also much loved. San Francisco is a very odd place. Freed, Teller, and Freed closed their doors in October 1999.]


He stressed that if he ever found a curvy blonde chicky, the door would be locked, the lights would be low, and the Escudo might be all gone. He and she would likely stay up all night fondling each other and smoking, go find somewhere else to pass the time.
But it had not ever happened yet.
Still in the planning stages.

Here's the tin of Rattray's Marlin Flake. Load up.

During the rainy season the last year before he moved to Texas to be with his son, I would drop by two or three times a week. His living room looked out over the alleyway, right where the trees of Bush Street cast dark shadows on the water streaming downhill. There was scant fog that winter, but lots of rain. The streetlights seemed brighter in the downpour.

The rushing sounds from outside often stilled the conversation. It was very pleasant to sit at the window looking at the water falling in shafts of light, tea between us, and two pipes going.

Always thank your host for a lovely evening when you leave.
Bring him some fresh fruit or vegetables occasionally.
Old guys are often too busy shlep those home.
Feel free to smoke the Rattray's flake.
Cope's discs are off limits.


Late at night you don't want milk and sugar in your tea, it's fine just the way it is. Dairy tends to coat the mouth anyway, which interferes with both single malt and tobacco. And if you ate Indian food that evening, plain tea is good for the stomach. It refreshes you, removes the tiredness, and you might even have a second pipe-full.
Besides, it's raining.

There are cute blonde chickies in Texas, good lord that place is filled with them! And the weather is much better for arthritic joints, he must be having a ball. If he ever did find that curvy woman who appreciated literature, he'll be glad that Escudo is finally available again.
They can smoke and fondle for years to come.
But on the other hand, it's Texas.
They're kind of weird there.
And a bit silly.




TOBACCO INDEX


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