Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Last Man-Room Standing . . .

I walked into a tobacco store today.

My purpose was to buy Stephen his favorite pipe tobacco, and Andrew and Brinton a nice cigar. The store is not in Fort Worth so its name and location will be withheld just in case they are doing something illegal -- which I hope they are.*

A tobacco store is a manly place. Lots of shelves with cigar boxes, tobacco, imported cigarettes, and all the paraphernalia that accompanies such products. No bric-a-brac, candles, and frilly things. Just wood shelving, glass cases, smoke products, and smoke.

As I was browsing, I thought that this may be the last store in America where I feel comfortable. And I don't smoke. But most everyone else was smoking: pipes, cigars, even cigarettes -- I had time-warped to 1950 -- and with every puff these patrons were testifying to their pleasure-filled disregard to the shouting other side.

Behind one counter a middle-aged man was selling fountain pens that he had made. Beautiful things they were. I tried one. We talked. I said, thank you. He said, anytime. A sales-man, a fountain pen, and a smoke filled room. I had stepped back into time and I did not want to leave.

At check out, the friendly girl who took my money was smoking a cigarette, and smiling, but not at me; at the fact, I assume, that she was a check out girl and smoking a cigarette. She took my payment and boxed my gifts, lit cigarette in hand, arm bent, fingers extended, like a movie star -- puffing on her cigarette. I could have kissed her.

I browsed a while longer and finally had to go, and as I stepped onto Walnut Street I saw a young man in tight black jeans and spiked black hair.

I was back.

* Editors note: Some readers misconstrued the meaning here. I am not implying that the establishment personnel were smoking funny tobacco. I do not mean that kind of illegal, I mean the smoking inside a public building kind of illegal. Man, you guys must have a guilty conscience or something.
photo by: trialsanderrors


Tyler Awesome Coolage said...

Tell me the secret location of the Rebel Base!

That's a great story. Seriously. Here I was thinking "I want to buy another pack of cigarettes," but grudgingly deciding, "No. I don't really NEED to have another cigarette right now..."

And then I read this story. So...I'll be back in 5.

Francis Shivone said...

Rebel base . . . a perfect metaphor. Thank you.
(Holts on Walnut St.,Philly)