Sunday, October 13, 2013


I missed the last bus, so I took a zig-zaggy way home. The direct route would have had me huffing up a steep slope, and there was plenty of time. So instead of heading directly up Sacramento or California Street, I wandered from Kearney Street to Grant Avenue, cut up to Waverly at Clay, then traversed Portola ("Old Chinatown Lane") from Washington to Jackson, crossed Stockton, and turned right into Trenton Street.

Right outside the eastern side of the Ping Yuen West housing project, there were two orbs at waist level.

[Sacramento Street: 唐人街 (or 沙加緬度街 past 美臣街). California Street: 加利福尼亞街. Kearney Street: 乾尼街. Grant Avenue: 都板街. Waverly: 天后廟街. Clay Street: 企李街. Portola Alley: 舊華埠巷. Washington Street: 華盛頓街. Jackson Street: 積臣街. Stockton Street: 市德頓街, Trenton Street: 登頓街. Ping Yuen West: 西平原.]

Two glowing orbs.



I looked at the raccoon. The raccoon looked at me. I stepped back a few paces, and filled a pipe. The raccoon observed. I lit the pipe. The raccoon was alarmed at the flare, then calmed down when the flame died. Just in case the animal was still disconcerted, I took another step backward. The raccoon cautiously resumed wrestling with the lid of the refuse disposal unit, occasionally glancing over in my direction.

Don't worry, small furry person, I have a pipe! You can enjoy all of that yourself, there is no need to share. Honestly.
My oral fixation is satisfied.

I have no idea what the creature found in there. But whatever it was, it smelled fecund. Rich, robust, and fruity. Rather like a good Virginia flake tobacco. Perhaps I should offer to share my smoke?

Fish heads; that accounts for the aroma of Perique.

There should be a late-night eatery in Chinatown, run by a Cantonese relative of Gandalf, so that a middle-aged Dutch American and a young raccoon might have a bite together.
Something with noodles.

See, you hold the chopsticks like so; use your first digit for leverage, because you do not actually have opposable thumbs, what with being a raccoon and all. That's just the way it is. Then angle your second and third digits against the pieces of bamboo, and with deft pinching motions you can lift the morsels to your mouth.

Have you ever had charsiu? I really think you'll like it.
Be cautious with the Sriracha hotsauce.
Unless you've had it before.
It's... peppy.

The raccoon would likely need at least three(!) telephone books on the seat to reach up to the table. But it would probably love the lights, and shiny surfaces. Along with the quietness, and the fact that Gandalf understands the existential hunger furry creatures feel.
As well as their liking for noodles.

After our snack, we'll share some tobacco.

The raccoon finished rooting around, came down from the garbage can and stared up at me for a few seconds, then turned around and slipped through the fencing into the courtyard of Ping Yuen.
I tapped out my pipe, and continued up Pacific.
Not now, but one of these days.

*浣熊 (woon hong): the wash bear.

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