Tuesday, May 09, 2023


The gang boss strode into the room, his smoking tool jutting out before him like the prow of a ship, his underlings fluttering behind him like little fish in its wake. Thus might a shoot-em-up movie begin, set in a nightclub during the thirties. As directed by Wong Kar-wai (王家衛). The smoking equipment would probably be a gigantic ivory cigarette holder, expensive and impressive. A veritable Rolls Royce for the face.

Nowadays one cannot stride in anywhere with a smoking tool, unless it is not lit. And one is thus more likely to put it in one's mouth when striding out. Such as I did yesterday evening after a cup of hot milk tea and an egg tart at a familiar haunt.

Instead of a big cigarette holder, it was a Dunhill pipe.
One which I've owned for over three decades.

It is never-the-less extremely impressive, a veritable statement that says this is not a dude to be messed with, please step sideways all of you dithering foreign tourists, a man of billious attitude and severe facial mien commands you.

Or something.
There were far too many out-of-towners at the bakery while I was there. Silently pointing at pastries in wonderment, not anwering the counter woman or saying anything at all, for all the world acting like baked goods were entirely new in their universe gosh how remarkable this San Francisco is!

You know folks, auntie doesn't bite. And very many of those lovely things are clearly labelled as well as immensely edible. A dollar or two will not send you to the poorhouse.
The Chinese customers were by-and-large, far more decisive.

I enjoyed my teatime very much, while looking down my long haughty nose at the tumultuous beings at the counter. Then strode out with hauteur.

I suppose that by the standards of our visitors, I am a "peculiar old geeze", as my apartment mate labelled me recently, which inspired the title of this essay. More or less.
But I think of myself as a movie gang boss manqué.
Gallant, dangerous, and smoking.

In fact, I am the paradigm of normalitude.

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