Wednesday, February 23, 2022


Despite my temperature-based misgivings (and will you East-Coasters PLEASE take your chill back, we don't want it) I headed out for lunch around teatime. Small grocery purchases before diving into a familiar place. Spicy crawfish flavour potato chips (香辣小龍蝦味薯片 'heung lat siu lung haa syu pin') for the apartment mate and the turky vulture, pineapple flaky pastries (鳳梨酥 'fung lei sou') for all of us here, including the other fuzzy critters.
I didn't even know that they made spicy crawdaddy chips.
I've already tried the cucumber flavoured ones.
They were oddly refreshing.

Conversation with two elderly Taiwanese ladies (eighty years old? You do not look it, auntie) enjoying desserts while I gasakked lap mei flavoured stirfried cabbage flowers and rice. Cantonese mixed with Mandarin mixed with English mixed with Min Nan. Fascinating women. And really, not at all old looking. Well yes, older looking than me. But I'm still a youngster.

When they were little girls the Japanese still ruled Taiwan.
Shortly after the war, the Nationalists arrived.
Things "changed".

One has to admire people who have been through interesting times and still maintain a sense of grace and liveliness.
That's something I hope people eventually say about me, but I was born well after the war, and haven't actually done anything remarkable. I guess I'll have to start exaggerating stuff. "Boy, when I was younger we colonized Mars. The government shut down the programme, but they couldn't silence all of us." Or "in my day we still made nuclear power by rubbing to two rocks together till critical mass was achieved. Sure we lost some of our hair doing so, but you can't make an omelette without pre-programming the food-bot."

On Waverly it was cold, but not as bad as yesterday. Bearable. With a thick Canadian overcoat and two layers of socks. So the post lunch pipe was actually enjoyable this time. Perhaps we are losing the cold spell and going back to our tropical high fifties.

Which means I can go back to sneering at and snarking pipe smokers in the rest of the country who are lamenting the freezing temps in their necks of the wood and how can anyone smoke outside when there are snow drifts and their kinfolk have bolted the door so that they expire shivering in the arctic cold dammit what's wrong with this world it didn't used to be so effing cold and heartless waaaaaaaaa!

Which is true. We used to be able to smoke our pipes indoors.
Surrounded by plastic bags, meat, and gluten.
And sugary soft drinks.

The title of this essay was inspired by European ideas about California, which are all based on watching Bay Watch. All of us pipesmokers look like David Haselhoff. Trust me. Would I lie?

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