Friday, March 05, 2010

The Miracle Cure

First of all, I want to thank all of my readers who clued me in to the fact that the 'good' drugs were behind the counter at the pharmacy, there for the asking. I had no idea. I just thought that the good stuff was banned by the Nanny State a few years ago and that was that.

So this morning, after I got myself out of bed, showered, and looking like something other than a meth-head, I drove over to the local CVS and asked the guy at the pharmacy counter if he had any 'original recipe' Sudafed on hand. He did, and even went one better--he said he had the generic stuff made with the same formula.

Sold! said I.

I bought that, two boxes of cinnamon Altoids, and a bottle of 7-Up, and I was out the door, getting my fix in the parking lot just a couple of minutes later. It helped.

From there, I made the long drive over to the west side, my objective being Mr. Bill's Smoke Shop over on West Flaming-O. It's a bit of a haul from Hendertucky, but it was such a nice day out that I enjoyed the drive. I found the store without too much problem, it's in a nondescript strip mall on the corner of Arville and Flaming-O. Most of its business is geared towards cigars, trendy hookahs, and the usual hippie stuff, but they had a nice display of Meerschaum and briar pipes on hand. Most were fairly reasonable, and I found a nice curved briar pipe for less than thirty bucks. I looked at a few more expensive ones that I really liked, but since I was undecided if pipe smoking was really something I wanted to do, I decided to hold off on the high-end stuff. But I'm determined to give it another try, just because it smells so damn good.

Anyhow, I got my pipe, a three-way 'pipe tool' for cleaning and tamping, some pipe cleaners, wooden matches and two pouches of Captain Black in the white package. That's what my Grandpa smoked for years and that's the smell that triggers the memories, so I purchased some of it as a tribute to him. I got out of there for about fifty bucks, but they had so many other varieties of good-smelling tobacco on hand that I'm sure I'll be back.

Since I was in the neighborhood already, I drove west a few more blocks to Archi's Thai Kitchen on my friend Kellee's recommendation. It's a small joint, and at first I didn't think that I'd get a seat, the restaurant being packed to the gills with the lunch rush. But I only had to wait a minute or two to get a table.

Once I was seated, I browsed the menu, but I knew what I was getting--the chicken pad Thai lunch special for $6.95. It came with a bowl of the daily soup (some sort of tasty chicken/coconut thing), a small side salad, bean sprouts, a fried wonton, and an egg roll. I ordered mine at heat level 7 (on a scale of 1-10) and also got some hot jasmine tea, also. Still fighting a sinus cold, I figured the tea and the spiciness of the pad Thai would work wonders for me.

It did. First of all, the pad Thai was excellent. And it was a great bargain for the price, too. No wonder the restaurant was so crowded at lunch. Also, I'd never had jasmine tea before, and I absolutely loved it. I didn't add any sweetener or anything to it, and I thought it tasted wonderful. Funny how I've gone this long in life without ever having tried that before. I'll probably buy some to keep here at the house, because not only did it taste good, but it made me feel a little better too.

While I was there, I couldn't help but laugh at the poseur at the table next to me. The guy was about 60 years old, wearing a French beanie, a black leather biker jacket, and huge Bono glasses that went out of style about ten years ago. He was dining with some young slacker in desperate need of a job and a haircut, but he spent the entire time name dropping and talking about his 'first film'. I tried not to be obvious with my eye-rolling, but the guy was a total caricature of the lecherous producer-type you read about. If I could've pulled it off, I would've tried to get his picture with my phone, but there was no way to be discreet about it--he was sitting only about three feet away from me.

I guess that was the free entertainment that came with my meal.

Once I finished and paid the tab (less than ten bucks!), I took the long way around 215 back here to the Batch Pad. I took a couple more pills, but decided to go even more proactive with my self-medication, and poured myself a snifter of Grand Marnier. That'll clear the sinuses all by itself.

But the siren song of my new pipe was calling me too, so I broke out my new purchases and sat out on the porch for a bit. I packed a bit of Captain Black into the bowl and loosely tamped it down, then put more in and did the same. It took me about three tries with the wooden matches to get it to stay lit, but I eventually got it figured out.

Damn, did it ever taste good, and the smoke was wonderful. I've known for years that cigar smoke is good for head colds (well, at least it makes me feel better), and the pipe smoke is just as effective.

Now, a briar pipe is different than meerschaum because it gets hot and has to be broken in. Meerschaum is porous and needs no break-in period, but with briar, the bowl actually burns a little and you have to build up a protective layer of carbon. Eventually, it helps keep it cool and mellows the smoke a bit. Or so I've been told. And the secret to smoking a pipe is to keep enough airflow going through it so that the moist tobacco stays lit, but at the same time it doesn't get too hot. It's a fine line to walk, but I managed to do ok this first time out. I sat and smoked that thing for about a half hour, refilling the bowl twice, and I really didn't run into any problems with having to relight it over and over again like I did back when I was a total rookie with a pipe. Still, practice makes perfect.

But between the cold medicine, the Grand Marnier, and a pipe full of mellow tobacco, I felt absolutely fine--like a million bucks.

Oh, I'm still somewhat under the weather, not sick, but the sinuses aren't quite cured yet, either. But at least now I know what to do about it.


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