Tuesday, January 02, 2018


At present it is after three in the morning, there is some hot tea and a shot of Scotch whisky to my left. The pipe contains Fillmore, from a tin opened during the weekend. After a neighbor set off fireworks about two hours ago, quiet has returned to this little slice of fog-swamp. San Francisco has recovered from a long weekend.

Earlier I had been outside the local karaoke joint, with lyric moans behind me, dull booming of rockets above, and the fiery sparkles reflecting off the windows across the street from the rockets.

New Year was yesterday, sir.
Kindly stop that.

My apartment mate does not smoke. And while I surreptitiously, such as at this time, might light up in our dwelling, usually the last pipe of the evening is outside. Sometimes I park my barang at the bar and purchase a shot and splash, to secure myself a place, though on busy evenings there it helps if other patrons can be trusted to keep an eye on my drink.
Then I go outside with my pipe.

I do not like karaoke.

I have many open tins, but today has been Greg Pease.
Every pipe since dawn was Fillmore.

Got up early because she was playing loud music in the teevee room. Took a long bath with a cigar, then napped for a while. Went down to Chinatown to eat, smoke, and watch the tourists. Pacific Avenue between Grant and Stockton is grimly beautiful at twilight; impoverished urban, decayed, and atmospheric from the fallen ginkgo leaves all over the pavement outside Ping Yuen. Across the street at the herbalists two old people are measuring out the ingredients to prescriptions before closing -- boil the contents of this package in four cups of water till reduced by half, drink the bitter liquid twice a day -- and a gentleman in a fancy tux leaves the restaurant briefly before the old folks ballroom dancing starts to repark his car.

Miriwa Center in the middle of the block is nearly deserted. Years ago a fancy new dim sum palace there was the crowning glory of the complex, when it was still new. Now that floor has been empty for ages, several of the retail spaces are for rent, and the only businesses that thrive are medical offices catering to the elderly, who percolate out onto the sidewalk for their kinfolks with cars to pick them up after their appointments.
The neighborhood is no longer filled with promise.
It has severely quieted down.

Further on, Gum Sing Grocery is brightly lit as they wheel the vegetable bins in for the night. The shipment of Koon Yick Wah Kee curry powder has finally come in, after a hiatus of nearly a year and a half. No one could explain why that splendid product was unavailable for so long. I bought three jars, just in case. I must have my Canto-style curry.

When I got home I napped for several hours.
I have been up again since midnight.

The Perique in this blend is nicely balanced, if you keep it at a slow smolder.
Otherwise it tickles the nose and may make you sneeze.
Slow, and surreptitious.

In the same way that I should puff on the cusp of going out, lest she wake up and come roaring out of her room to tell me to go smoke elsewhere, outside for instance, I dare not indulge in a pipe too blatantly on the sidewalk in front of Miriwa Center, as there is a frightfully imposing black female security guard there committed to limiting my freedom.
And enforcing the twenty five foot rule.

My apartment mate is much smaller than her.
But a whole lot fiercer.


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