Sunday, November 16, 2014


There are very few places in the Financial District that serve noodles, and virtually none that have decent ngau yiuk chau fan (乾炒牛河 'gon chaau ngau ho'). The Financial District, while close to Chinatown, and containing nearly as many Chinese worker bees as white drones, caters very largely to a completely unimaginative ('dull') suburban horde.
Lots of salads. Lots of burgers and pizzas.
Burritos coming out the ears.

Plus pasta bowls, fruit and wheatgrass shakes, energy drinks, and bags of crispy crunchy grease-crackers. It's like a giant theme park.

No decent chow fun anywhere!

You should play hooky sometime. Tell the boss that you need two hours for lunch, and head into Chinatown for something good, something that the fat gun freak in the next cubicle can't pronounce, and will not touch.

I could suggest any number of dishes, but if you're the type who finds the idea attractive, you probably already have dishes that set your mouth drooling, or you may wish to experiment.

Along with a plate of chow fun.

Go ahead, do it.

On the other hand, you could just call in sick, cough convincingly into voicemail, perhaps moan theatrically, then hang up and burst out cackling. Read all morning in your jammies, take a nice long bath, then head into Chinatown all fresh and fragrant, for something cheap, greasy, slippery, and delicious. But stick to Stockton Street, it's far enough uphill and into the scary jungle that none of the large East-Bay dumptrucks you work with will venture there during lunch and blow your cover.
Just imagine them huff, huff, huffing uphill.
Cheap costume jewelry jangling.
Rolls trembling.

Imagine a young woman doing this. Perhaps a recent college graduate, who has landed a rewarding job in one of the downtown corporations or law firms. Yes, the money is okay, especially if she still lives at home. One of her blonde dingbat coworkers -- the one from the Midwest, who is having an affair with the senior vice president and consequently will be promoted, as is customary among her class -- bellyaches about the sky-high rent, and how expensive this horrible HORRIBLE city is, why can't all these un-hip people just LEAVE, because a city like San Francisco is wasted on ethnic types! But for those who haven't moved here in the last two years following the internet start-up dream, it's not a bad place.
Anyhow, our recent college graduate lives at home.
And doesn't get drunk every night.
Or eat out much.

Acting like a twenty-something young hip consumer slut with all the latest fashionable gear and no taste whatsoever just isn't her style.
She works with those people, she doesn't emulate them.

It's quiet during the middle of the day, the house is empty.

The perfect time to watch detective series on television, drink hot chocolate, and hug a teddy bear.
"Dare I smoke a cigar", she wonders, and "will the smell dissipate before anyone comes home?"

"Perhaps I should open the windows."

That means that she should put on a warm bathrobe over her jammies. Because it's cold outside. And it also presents a quandary, as the smell will take a few hours to fade. She'd have to leave windows open while going off to lunch. That might not be wise; living in the city one hears about burglaries.
One the other hand, smoking outdoors means that she will have to get dressed, and wander afield a bit. Can't have the neighbors reporting that she was seen with a lit stogie promenading up and down the street.
There's that Russian woman next door, for instance.
A thoroughly venomous old gossip.
So maybe no cigar.

Just a cigie near the back bedroom window. During commercial breaks.
Her bedroom, her stinky smell, surely no one will notice?

There are so few places where a well-bred young woman can light up a cigar without being subjected to the company of fat middle-aged brutes and bastards dropping 'F' bombs left and right. It's really very sad.
Even the cigar bar on Pine Street is problematic.
Two television sets for the sports fans.
That guarantees screaming.
And 'F' bombs.

My heart goes out to all the well-bred young women who smoke cigars or eat chow-fun. It can't be easy in a city filled with venomous Russians, stinky midwesterners, large suburban heffalumps, and internet yuppies.

I myself am not a cigar smoker. But I don't mind the smell.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


At the Hill of the Back said...

You're not a cigar-smoker? Despite what you wrote here?

The back of the hill said...

Key phrase from that post: "We pipe-smokers are not like that. "

Sometimes I do smoke a cigar. But far more often than not I reach for a pipe. This morning I had the first cigar in ten days. In that ten day period, I smoked a pipe more than forty times.

Quote: "I too on occasion pong of Caribbean leaf. It's a character flaw."

Nobody is perfect. But I am closer than cigar aficionados who sometimes try to smoke a pipe.
Far, far closer.

At the Hill of the Back said...

What about cigarettes?

The back of the hill said...

Haven't habitually smoked those since the last century.
But there were many brands I enjoyed in those days. During the eighties and nineties I often bought State Express 555's, the non-filter kind.

Also rolled cigs with Samson shag, or Van Nelle.

The smell of Dutch dark shag tobacco is an impossibly memory inducing fragrance.

At the Hill of the Back said...

Why did you stop? And do you still non-habitually?

The back of the hill said...

Cigarettes are not satisfying.


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