THE FOG OF MEMORY, AND FUR BALLS AT TWILIGHT
One could still smoke in public in those days; one wasn't a leper.
There may have been a smell of pot from others there.
In all honesty, I cannot remember pot.
The Rattrays, I can.
Several years ago I mentioned this to a friend, who promptly organized a jaunt. All of us piled into his station wagon and headed out to the area near Cliff House, to smoke our pipes and observe the dying of the day.
Such a lovely idea, of course we have to do that!
We forgot that the fog rolls in there.
Too thick to see bugger all.
We actually did enjoy it, though. Five grown men, five pipes, and not a single horrific aromatic mixture among us. Also, and this is important, no enormous women from Berkeley screaming about how we were nasty throwbacks killing babies with our fumes. Those are a bit more common downtown, and during the day.
There's an infestation of them in the Financial District.
What there was, which was quite as fascinating to watch, were pigeons in love. We had gotten out of the car, because five pipes going at the same time would have made the interior oppressive. We were sitting off to the side, smoking, when we became aware of two pigeons on the hood of the vehicle. The male was performing his strutting dance with the spread tail feathers, showing that he was hot to trot, and the female (at least, we think it was a female pigeon) was doing the usual dithery absent-minded wander-around indicating keen appreciation. Then they went at it. Possibly because the residual engine warmth made precisely that location the most enjoyable and romantic place to have sex.
I had never actually observed pigeon sex before.
It's interesting, in its own way.
But not exciting.
None of us said anything. Being surrounded by darkening fog, watching pigeon-humping, while smoking pipes; it seemed intellectually fulfilling, and likely to induce a contemplative or poetic mood.
A very San Francisco kind of thing.
A raccoon dropped from a tree overhead onto the feathered couple, and ran off with the female in its jaws.
The male flew away, startled.
I can't remember which one of the other four said it, but his remark seemed apposite.
"If that had been humans f*cking, the raccoon would have stolen their underwear instead."
Of course, nowadays that area is too well-traversed for wild passion on the front of a station wagon. And the reek of pipe tobacco would have the young couple fleeing long before they had ripped off their clothes. But the idea of a small furry robber trundling off, clutching panties and boxer shorts to his chest, is charming.
Maybe he's doing it for educational purposes.
Perhaps it's the thrill of the "chase".
And because he can.
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