Those first few hours of the day are precious. The combination of hot coffee, necessary medication, arguing with a stuffed animal, and setting off to smoke the first pipe of tobacco, is, in effect, wonderfully magical.
I'm sure Mrs. Wong ("Auntie With The Pistachio Ice Cream Hued Hat") thinks so too. As does Grumpy Uncle With The Sun Glasses.
This morning I left the house shortly after seven thirty. My apartment mate went off to work just before eight thirty. I have firmly snecked her door and opened all the windows, and at present I've finished another cup of coffee and a second pipe.
Last night after a bathroom visit she came into my room to talk about some of her coworkers. This morning she could not remember that she took two of the stuffed animals back to her room.
I'm fairly certain that they did not move there on their own accord.
Although everything is possible.
Three things have changed enormously since I was a youngster: There are many more stuffed animals, I've got an enormous collection of briar pipes, and Chinese food and ingredients have become fairly standard in my life.
Adults should always have stuffed animals; it gives them someone to talk to when there's no one else around, and they're wasted on the young. Good briar pipes are aesthetically pleasing objects of enjoyment, as well as touchie-feelies. Dim sum, snackiepoos, and Canto home cooking type dishes are a vast improvement over the burnt carcasses and grease bombs of suburban living or Europe, by a very wide margin.
My habits have also changed.
Mid teens: Coffee and the newspapers, pipe filled with Balkan Sobranie (a medium-full Latakia blend), off to school.
Mid twenties: Dress hurriedly, head over to the Trieste for a beverage. Light pipe afterwards, because doing so inside would lead to questions like "are you an artist?", "are you an intellectual?", or "are you from Europe?".
Computer company years: roll out of bed, hurriedly swill coffee. Smoke on the run.
Toy company years: coffee before taking the cablecar downtown. Smoke before work, to the intense displeasure of suburbanite earth moms. Pipe with the boys at the wall during mid-day, then again after work.
Nowadays: avoid people. Talk to stuffed animals.
Oh, and for several years I've sported a beard. It makes me look artistic, intellectual, and European.
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Beards no longer make one look artistic, intellectual, and European.
They make one look like a disaffected hipster. Who is probably a vegan. And wears a trilby in the mistaken belief that it's a fedora.
Depends on the beard. Mine is very neatly trimmed.
And I do have a fedora (actually a Serbian Gangster hat, broad brimmed and dashing looking) which I never wear. My head is not suited to hats.
Perhaps I shall make it a point to have meat juices dripping down my chin to counter the suspicion of veganism. Or wear a necklace of fine sausages.
I am not hip. I never was. I was born a sour old man.
Ah, lunch break at the Wall. Very happy memories, especially when annoying some of the cigar smokers.
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