Wednesday, December 22, 2021

STABLE MOORINGS IN A STORM

It is illegal to smoke at bus stops. But on Clay Street, one can perch further up hill and see if there's a bus in sight down in the Financial District, without bothering the people sheltering in the wait hutch. Who, because they're looking downhill anyway, and it's raining, won't see or smell the offender.

Question: if it takes half an hour for a bus to come (on a line where there should be a bus every ten minutes), is it even a bus stop most of the time? Or during those awful in-between periods will it revert to being mere sidewalk?

An angry non-smoker would argue that the entire sidewalk, from cross street to cross street, on a bus route, is, in fact, the bus stop. It's a zen-conception. For the non-smokers it expands to fill all the available space between here and the end of the line wherever that is if they're waiting a long time, for me it contracts to the infinitesimal.

Both points of view are correct.


In any case, the wind was right, so I didn't bother anyone. And I was fifty feet away. All they could smell was the sewage in the storm drain at the corner.


Because of the pandemic there are more awnings where one can shelter from the rain, but some of my favourites have disappeared. And in any case one does have to share them. In an ideal world, a nice woman with an engaging personality would appear and exclaim "oh you poor middle-aged Dutch American eccentric gentleman, you look frozen out here smoking in all kinds of weather, please come home with me and sit on the couch in front of the fireplace under a blanket with your pipe while I fix us some nice hot cocoa, after which we can discuss the poetry of Wang Wei or Joost Van Den Vondel! Or mediaeval society in Northern Europe! Ooh!" But that sounds skeey as all get out, one should be cautious about people one has never met before, San Francisco apartments don't have fireplaces, I'm not particularly fond of cocoa, and no one really wants to discuss Wang Wei OR Joost Van Den Vondel in this sad era.

Oh, and while pipe smoking may remind you of an elderly relative, he or she is in a retirement home in Florida plotting to reinstate Trump, and you would rather not think of them.

It's a depressing situation.


"Oh you poor sprightly middle-aged Dutch American eccentric gentleman, you look quite miserable out here smoking in all kinds of weather, please come home with me and sit on the couch in front of the fireplace under a blanket with your pipe while I fix us some nice hot cocoa, after which we can discuss the poetry of Wang Wei or Joost Van Den Vondel! Or mediaeval society in Northern Europe! Ooh!"


Do you have any relatives with engaging personalities who like the smell of pipe smokers? And who don't have any screws loose? If you do, kindly send them my way. They don't have to be interested in great poetry, OR the mediaeval period, they could be programmers or financial planners working for downtown companies. Medical field professionals. Even translators of Slavic and Romance languages.

Preferably in the vicinity of Chinatown, North Beach, Nob Hill, Telegraph Hill, or Polk Street beyond California. I am very flexible in the matter of warm beverages.



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