SMOKING IS VERY BAD FOR YOU, OKAY?
Most cigar smokers are crude, opinionated, and wrong.
As a pipe-smoker, I am above all that.
But not always.
I was planning to have only one drink, and consequently had only a little Virginia tobacco and two pipes with me when I entered. One of which was already lit, having been filled while I waited for my roast duck and rice at New Moon Restaurant in Chinatown.
[Roast duck and rice, roast duck rice plate: 燒鴨飯 'siu ngaap fan'; Cantonese style roast duck with a mound of rice. Usually this is served with the nicely arranged chunks of hot duck exuding juices onto a layer of chopped lettuce (生菜 'saang choi'). New Moon Restaurant: 新月燒臘小館 ('san yueh siu-laap siu-gwun') on Stockton Street near Broadway, where they also serve a bowl of old fire soup (老火湯 'lou fo tong') with the meal. Chinatown: 唐人街 ('tong yan kai'); an economically depressed mixed residential and business neighborhood adjacent to the Financial District, where some people of Chinese extraction reside. Most Chinese Americans, having reached an economic level that allowed them to move the hell out, have moved the hell out.]
While I was on my second pipe, a Singaporean couple walked in, ordered expensive single malts, and lit up Havanas. They were good conversationalists, and despite the huge age gap between the him and the her, they seemed like a great match. Both were no longer starry-eyed adolescents filled with idealistic ideas about love and marriage.
Then a suave smooth-pated Puerto Rican gentleman entered.
I know him, and he is also a good conversationalist.
By this time I was on my third pipeful.
I go there for the conversation.
After earlier sneering privately about the Havanas ("hah, not nearly as good as Padron cigars"), the host was now selling the Singaporean gentleman, who had strongly opined that non-Cubans were virtually unsmokeable, a very fine Padron 1926 maduro.
Both he and his companion admitted to me that it was good tobacco.
They took turns puffing at it. Altogether, a decent cigar.
Shortly afterward, the world's cutest cigar smoker came in. No, I shall not describe her or mention what kind of person she is -- because I would like her company all to myself, and do not wish fat rednecks and rightwing Republican asshats to go all fetishist batshit and flock to the cigar-bar in hopes of finding their fifth wife there -- but I will merely say that I have presently forgotten what she was smoking. It's an important datum.
There is a strong possibility that, like what the Singaporean gentleman and his lady were enjoying, it was a Nicaraguan.
She joined our conversation, and she and the Singaporean woman had quite a talk. To which I was a keen but mostly silent witness.
At least, that is how I remember it.
Meanwhile, a Panjabi gentleman, who insisted that he was merely a humble San Francisco barber, nope nothing else -- "see that shiny pate over there? My handiwork, he looks much more human now!" -- had entered and shown off his big BIG 96 ring-gauge eight incher ("it's big, 'coz I'm Panjabi, moddah f*gg*rrs"). After smoking barely an inch of this monstrosity he switched to something else, and when I asked about it, he said the big Panjabi penis substitute had tasted like sh*t.
Precisely and exactly.
I did not remark upon the breadth of his experience.
A cheerful Egyptian now also joined the party.
The Panjabi accused him of being Jewish.
More Nicaruaguan cigars were lit.
By the time I switched to cigarillos, because I'd had too many pipefuls, the world's cutest cigar smoker had bidden farewell and left.
Yes, I had thoroughly enjoyed her company.
But she had to leave; long drive home.
The Singaporean woman, who was now smoking a Liga Privada ("much better than the Padron") then spent half an hour or more strongly urging me to court the world's cutest cigar smoker, because obviously we're so perfectly matched. And from one point of view, that would be indeed be a damned nice thing, but if I were an outsider I should probably think otherwise, because I am a financially-depressed middle-aged Dutchman, with strange habits and a life-time of peculiarities saved up.
Hardly a dreamboat, and likely far too goofy.
Things become more complicated as one gets older, and there's a very great chance I'd say the wrong things, and ruin a very fine friendship.
Plus I can well imagine that if I were the world's cutest cigar smoker's brother, I would likely growl "mister, stay away from my sister".
No, I do not know if she has siblings.
I'll have to ask.
Yes, I spent till closing time there. And please remember, I had intended to have only one drink. But the camaraderie of good people can make one change plans rapidly, and I enjoy intelligent conversation.
Plus the company of cigar smokers is appealing.
It makes one feel alive again.
I was a bit slow the next morning.
Possibly not enough sleep.
Or too much smoke.
SMOKING IS VERY BAD FOR YOU OKAY?
Please note that the title of this essay is a direct quote from Pepe The King Prawn. It's what that lovable crustacean said to two mafiosi in the most recent muppet movie.
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Labels: THE WALL (CIGAR SMOKERS)