Wednesday, October 21, 2020


The key part of waking up, as you would expect, is having that first cup of strong hot coffee, recommended by all good doctors as the appropriate swill for washing down the necessary pills in the morning. And while I like coffee, I do not obsess over the brewing method, and avoid Starbucks with every fibre of my being.
I prefer the next step: a walk with a pipe.

Unlike my apartment mate, I am not a morning person. She erupts from her bedroom bubbling over with piss and vinegar, along with the turkey vulture which I gave her for her birthday last December, and both of them require sustenance and conversation, caffeine not so much.

[The necessary pills are blood pressure meds. I am an excitable person.]

The ideal walk would terminate at a place with books, where hot tea and perhaps a crumpet for the peckish would await. And indeed, there used to be such a place within strolling distance on the wilds of Russian Hill around the mid levels. It was also open till the late hours, as a refuge for the world-weary, seeking stimulation from a world of cheap gold plating, designer handbags, and the dross of consumerite culture inflicting its harsh vulgarity upon the soul.
Of course that was years ago, when you could still puff indoors. Since then both the pipes and the books have disappeared, in vavour of wifi, hazelnut-mango ventis, and soft yet hip mood music. All of which smell better.

I fear that many of the people in this neighborhood also avoid gluten, meat, and dairy, and prefer to nibble on something wholesome, rustic, and kale-laden.
While fantasizing about hobbits.

Some of us still dream of places perfumed with Bell's Three Nuns (an excellent Virginia and Perique compound), or Dunhill 965 (the standard for Latakia mixtures), plus the slightly musky odour of books (printed text on paper, collected in stacks with covers, with the faintest sourish whiff of Lumbeck glue applied to the back edge beneath the spine still adhering).

[Thinking of repairing a copy of 正草隶篆四体字典 ('jeng chou dai suen sei tai ji-din', from the Shanghai Bookstore Press). This is a dictionary that lists various forms of Chinese characters, including the greater and lesser seal-script versions (篆書 'suen syu'). It's gotten a lot of use over the years, and is rather beaten up. Much like a few other reference books. Hence the Lumbeck reference.
It's been a long time since I rebound a book.]

I have yet to try a raspberry-syrup frappiato.
Kale is okay, with bacon and noodles.
Provided you add hot sauce.
And peanuts.


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