Wednesday, April 24, 2024


There are several artists rolling over in their graves right now. One or two aren't dead yet, but never mind. Rolling. Among them Frank Sinatra and Amy Winehouse. Because the Alaskan gentleman singing made everything sound like the doleful lament of a waterbuffalo pining for its wallow. It was a painful and intensely personal statement. When not singing, his droning voice at the far end of the bar grated on the ears and made veins near the forehead throb.

It had, however, a desired effect. It drove everyone out of there in stages. Leaving only a Chiuchow winedrinker (潮州酒鬼), my friend the bookseller, myself, and the grieving buffalo's soulmate except neither man knows it yet, as the only people in the place besides the person behind the counter. Whose life, necessarily, is surreal.

All in all, the perfect capstone to a very good day. I got a lot done, and had tomato porkchops with rice and sambal (番茄豬扒飯、參巴醬) at the San Ho Lei Wut chachaanteng (新荷里活茶餐廳), in late afternoon, before poncing around the neighborhood a bit with my fancy pipe, looking quite gay and dashing for an old git.

After a few hours at home I got back down to Chinatown for another pipe.
Smoked in the quiet while waiting for the bookseller.
People watching.
If you're into Asian women, the Chiuchow winedrinker informed me, there is no better place than Hong Kong. The women are splendid. I did not tell him that crass consumerite designer handbag freaks were not my thing. I will not buy anyone a handbag. And, for the past few years, I haven't been interested in anybody, or even thinking about it, so as a subject for conversation, discussing the female gender of Hong Kong is a nonstarter.
I should probably tell my barber that, though.
He's obsessed by the idea.

The one key advantage of Hong Kong women is that they presumably enjoy good food much more than vegans and people from Iowa, and they're familiar with though not actually tolerant of the fact that many men will smoke.

Of course, they might also be karaoke fiends. So they are to be feared.
You can probably tell that I don't know many of them.

Actually, none of the women I know are handbag idiots. Only one is a vegan.

I feel that clarification of this is important.

And while many of my favourite people are indeed women, I am not suited or suitable for an intimate relationship, what with being stubborn and probably peculiar. The entire left side of my bed, where there used to be space for a woman, is presently occupied by books, tins of pipe tobacco, and stuffed animals.

After not singing any karaoke ourselves, for the entire time it took to slowly sip a whiskey (the bookseller) and a tall glass of tea (me), we ambled over to the bus stop. His plans for his days off might be hiking in the hills of Marin, or taking the ferry over to Angel Island, or perhaps watching some baseball. My plan for tomorrow is to pay bills and call up the pharmacy for more latanoprost, then lunch at a place which, coincidentally, is staffed primarily by women, followed by a pipe, grocery shopping, a pastry at tea time.
And another pipe, before heading home to read.

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