Monday, May 13, 2024

Pipe Smoker

She's not my cat.  She comes around to be fed. . . sometimes.  She's spooky, but when she does come around, she might lie about for however long I'll stay with her, grooming, lolling.  Sometimes, even after I go inside, she'll stay on the deck looking into the house.  She likes me fine, I guess, but if I make a sudden move, she bolts.  You can see in this photograph that her left ear is clipped, a signal to humans that she has been fixed.  I can't understand this practice of capturing feral cats, spaying them, cutting the top of their ear off, and setting them free.  What sick fuck thought of this one?  And yet--and this really stuns me--coyotes, which have become a dangerous nuisance in my own hometown--are inviolable.  They can eat cats and dogs and scare mothers with small children, but they are not to be shot or even captured.  Why oh why if you are going to spay and neuter things don't you do it with coyotes?  

Whatever.  Such is the human mind, I guess.  I feed the cat when she comes around, even buying her canned food from time to time.  

So. . . here you have a picture of my life. . . in the main.  

Mother's Day was pretty much a wash.  I forced myself to rally for a bit, driving to Whole Foods for flowers then to my mother's mid-afternoon to sit with her for awhile.  Many people had sent her cards.  

"Do you have kids you're not telling me about?"

"I'm not saying."

"Well, shit. . . there goes the inheritance."

Twice, people from her church came out with gifts.  Her 90 year old neighbor down the street came and visited with her after her own daughters had taken her to breakfast.  I merely sat in the t-shirt I had slept in and a wrinkled pair of shorts, me unwashed, and chatted for a bit.  It's all I could manage.  

When I got home, I decided to drink a Guinness 0, a "near beer," if you will.  I figured with barley, malt, and hops, it was probably pretty healthy and it was a nice change from tea or coconut water.  I hadn't a cheroot.  Haven't had any for a couple weeks.  But, given my lack of stimulation, it seemed a smoke might be nice.  Not dope.  Dope makes me stupid.  I am not comfortable smoking dope unless I want to sleep.  It is, for me, like opium, a thing that should be done on cushions at night in some dark den.  I say I'm a hippie, but not that kind.  I can't understand why people want a variety that wakes them up.  Who wants to be stupid and awake?  Well, a lot of people, I guess.  They like to drive while texting, too.  It's a real phenomena.  But, in my new life, I'm trying not to confront people who are stupid and wrong.  I have to stop ending my instructional conversations with "motherfucker" and "dick-for-brains" and "cocksucker" and the like.  I'm learning to change, see.  I have to learn to simply shake my head and let things go.  

So. . . I got the pipe.  Just a regular pipe filled with a mild Balkan Sobranie tobacco.  I don't have the shirts yet, but I do have a pipe.  It is briar with a beautiful grain and a meerschaum insert in the bowl.  Who smokes a pipe?  Nobody smokes pipes anymore.  They are too tedious.  And they are not good for you, either, but for your psyche and soul.  To sit with a pipe to contemplate things. . . that's the hoodoo you can read about pipe smoking, anyway.  There is more mystical shit written about pipe smoking than any other form of tobacco use.  Pipe smokers are irritating.  They just are.  But I have one and I am embracing my inner retiree, so. . . I got the pipe.  I sat on the deck with a "near beer" and a pipe and let the neighbors watch me become more eccentric.  

"Holy shit. . . honey, look.  What's he doing?  Is that a pipe?!  What do you think he's smoking?  He's a weird one.  Have you seen the shirts he's taken to wearing?  He doesn't belong in this neighborhood.  We've got to do something.  I heard a rumor that he's thinking of moving to Boca del Vista.  I hope he does it soon.  Don't let the kids go near his yard.  I heard him yelling at a lady for throwing her doggie poop bag in his garbage can the other day.  He's just odd.  I think I saw him walking around the yard in his boxers and a t-shirt the other morning.  Who does that?"

"Oh, Hudson. . . you get so worked up.  I remember when he used to be cute.  I think something happened to him during Covid."

I almost posted a photo of me smoking my pipe on the deck, but then I decided that was too vainglorious.  I would have chosen the best photo of the lot, certainly, one that was very nearly a lie.  It was just too damn pretty, in truth.  Having not eaten for a week has given me cheekbones again, and we know how important cheekbones can be.  I have already given into sending it to a few friends.  I play up the silliness of the pipe to them, but of course it is really all about the handsome man in the photograph.  The best of the bunch.  

"Love it!" the girls write back.  The boys simply say, "Yea, I always thought you were a pipe smoker.  Ha!"

But it will be a good photo for the back of the book jacket I will never write.  The book, I mean.  I may write a book jacket.  I have lots of practice at the short form.  It shouldn't take too long.  

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