Wednesday, March 11, 2020


My neighbor Mr. Siu offered to drive me to Chinatown yesterday evening, knowing that I head there once a week for some very temperate carousing. He rather admires what he probably thinks of as a regular night of riotous behaviour. He's married, so there are some limitations. Other than the occasional mah jong party, he leads a quiet life.
He was dropping an auntie off at home in that direction, but I politely declined, seeing as the reek of my cigarillo might offend her.
Old ladies of a certain type, you know.

Besides, I like the bus at that time of night.
I have a pipefull when I disembark.
A quiet smoke.

The social clubs that line Spofford seemed rather empty, nobody catching a quick ciggy before rejoining their game. And only one crazy person, who barely registered on Grant, remaining non-ambulatory, drowsing.
No sounds from the alley facing the karaoke joint.
Other than someone playing a ukulele.

After the bookseller had his burger we went to a bar in North Beach, which was also quiet, then headed up that alley at around one for the karaoke joint, passing the ukulelist still strumming his instrument.


Four people at the counter. The self-proclaimed most dangerous man in Chinatown (a pothead), Portnoy-Uncle (a drunk), Johnny's idiot younger brother (an idiot), and the stupidest waiter in Chinatown (also an idiot). At one point the second idiot inveigled P-Uncle into performing the song that was on screen. He could not read the characters (probably couldn't focus), so it resembled the monster in Young Frankenstein; frustrated angry growling. Unh-aargh. Unhhhhh! Oooh-hurhurhggg! Beautiful, man.
Then the second idiot took a vicious stab at the melody.
It stopped before he got to the first comma.

Some people just shouldn't sing.

Karaoke is wasted on them.

Considering how little singing we had to put up with, it was a lovely evening. Despite Portnoy-Uncle's howling, and Xi Jin-ping's wife doing a painfully piercing penetrating patriotic ballad on the croak machine. The 'Pipe for Watching Rats in Spofford Alley' was an absolutely delightful smoke, there were no crazies at the burger place, and no hipsters being obnoxious at the bar to which we went before the karaoke joint.

Coffee before leaving the house. Cola mixed with Fanta at the burger place. Earl Grey tea at the cocktail bar. A glass of hot water at the karaoke joint. Three cigarillos, one pipe.

I have become the women's temperance league.
This is not something that I planned.
I blame my decent upbringing.

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

No comments:

Search This Blog


One of the all-time best lines I ever wrote on this blog was "there is no rampant perversion here, I need to stress that". Friends...