Wednesday, November 30, 2022


After eating I lit up, and as I walked toward Stockton I passed a little girl and her granddad sitting on a ledge. The tyke may never have seen a white man smoking a pipe before, and now she has. And she had observed the antique sight with avid wonder. I flatter myself I still hold the interest of charming females .... even if they are shorter than my elbow.

The cat at the general dried seaflavour and tonic herbs place was not interested in the pipe, just whether the extended hand would scritch her behind the ears. Practical beast.
She had a very clear agenda. Commence scritching!

Remarkably, that doesn't work with human females. If it did I would never have to worry for company again. Food, maybe yes. The human female often has a voracious appetite.

There were TWO women at the table of old crusties when I got to the tea place after grocery shopping. And six men, four of whom are regulars. I've seen them there many times. One of the ladies was a semi-regular. None of the people at that table are under forty, most of them meet up at least once a week to have a bite to eat and enjoy each other's company. I do not think I've ever noticed them speaking Toisanese, just city Cantonese, but I suspect that they are indeed originally from Toisan. Most of the people at that place are.

The waitress always addresses me as "Fake Foreigner" (假鬼佬 'gaa gwai lou').
We've known each other for years, and I always speak Canto there.
She's rarely heard me speaking English (*).
And never Dutch.

That last, I think, would flabbergast her, because Hollandish sounds remarkably like someone coughing up a hairball to the naked ear.

Imagine the impact of Hokkien.
I do that too at times.
Not very often.
And badly.
Two pipes in Chinatown today. Both of them used to be my father's, which I had borrowed during an Autumn once when he headed over to London for a fortnight with his snookums, leaving me in charge of the house in Valkenswaard.
They were both safely back in his desk when he returned. He had had a splendid vacation. So had I. Some of the household expense funds had been spent on excellent tobacco.

Back then a young man smoking a pipe was far less rare than any one smoking a pipe in this day and age. Often the only way you'll see something like that outside of the sporadic meetings of a pipe club is if you look in the mirror.

As a teenager I enoyed Balkan Sobranie, which was a fairly full Latakia mixture, and people would take me aside to say "you know son, if you just smoked Clan (a mighty fine Dutch tobacco about which we cannot speak highly enough), you would probably have way more friends". Nowadays they simply tell me to stop smoking and they'll put away the can of Mace or Black Flag. I am adept at avoiding Karens, as you would expect.

['Jongeman, als jij Clan pijptabak rookte zou je waarschijnlijk meer vrienden hebben!']

No one in C'town has ever said 'F' all about it.
They don't have a bug up their ass.
Or a whiny white attitude.

* I can speak English very well, I learn it from a book.
I am a remarkable animal. Japanese?
Possibly Canadian.

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