Crack Pot

December 20, 2007 at 2:22 am (Day to Day)

I tend to find myself in some pretty awkward situations. Usually these awkward situations can be less than awkward or even “normal” but for whatever reason I turn the mundane into the profane and the profane into crack pipes.

Books have been this year’s hot item for most of my friends this year. For the first time I actually have a set reading list for the break. Reading lists aren’t something I look forward to because it turns one of my favourite hobbies into an obligation that looms overhead like a hot summer sun. It feels just as heavy and discouraging, too. For this reason I didn’t use books as a default present for my friends. A few did receive some very well thought out books that were picked on the merit of a story behind me making the purchase—either a conversation we had or a situation that made me put the person and book together. A lot of my friends don’t read, however, and I didn’t want to push my interests on somebody else by beating them over the head with a one-two punch of Hemmingway and Kafka. That would be enough to turn me off of literature. My chum Caleb was a special gift because I knew what I was going to get him in early November. He was talking about his craving for a pipe to complete his attire o’pretentiousness. He’ll be writing in Starbucks and saying “indubitably” in no time! After riding around town with D.J. and having no luck with finding a good pipe, I browsed over an ad in The Journal for Topper’s Tobacco, which advertised pipes. Since pipes were what I was after, I drove out there to finish my quest. Not long after walking into the establishment, which had very anti-establishment posters on the wall, it took me no longer than the time it takes a Spears to get pregnant to realize that the advertisement in the paper was a little bit misleading. It had a very 1960’s bohemian feel to it, and I half expected to hear Helter Skelter playing overhead and seeing a copy of Walden sitting on the counter, opened to the latter half of the book just to prove to all those who walked in that it was indeed being read. This wasn’t quite the case, but it made me actually feel like this could have been the Starbucks of the hippie apex. After looking confused for about the length of time is takes a high school girl to get an abortion, the help asked me what I needed. I told her that I was looking to buy a pipe as a Christmas gift for a friend. She smiled and told me to go through the shaded curtain towards the back of the store. I gave a quick nod and headed in that direction, with a very experienced walking right behind me with the confidence of somebody who knew exactly what she wanted.

I noticed a you-must-be-18 sign and thought nothing of it since it was tobacco we were talking about. It’s the kind of sign that’s expected. What wasn’t expected was what was waiting to jump out and yell “surprise” as soon as I walked through the curtain. “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” is a warning I would have taken seriously. The first item that was risen to attention was a giant dildo. And no longer than it takes for a Rob to feel uncomfortable, I started feeling uncomfortable as several different kinds of dildos, blow-up dolls, dirty magazines/pictures, and other different knickknacks welcomed me and my conscious as though to say “sinner”. Fleeing from evil came to my mind, but I decided against it and made my to the back counter to be greeted by a very cheery woman whose life force is probably drawn by the awkwardness of those similar to me. I walked up to her undaunted by my circumstances and asked her about my holy grail, a pipe. She took me to the counter filled with glass pipes. I gave an incredulous look at the lot followed by a sigh. I was not having breakfast at Tiffany’s—unless Tiffany was a cheap prostitute (likely the case). I had no desire to be subtle at this point. I told her that I needed a tobacco pipe. She looked insulted as she replied, “what do you mean?” as if avoiding being the object of a sting operation. “I mean, a wooden pipe.” “Oh you mean an old school pipe?” I was a little bit frustrated at this point. My poise was shaken. I looked at the ground and with slight apprehension looked her in the eyes and finally said, “I mean NOT A CRACK PIPE!” She told me that I had to go next door to Murphy’s Cigars. I left the room with all the nudie pictures and dildos waving goodbye to me. Heaven forbid that a store called Toppers Tobacco that advertises pipes actually have an “old school wooden” pipe. I only wondered what the woman who came in immediately after me was shopping for. She probably wanted a tobacco pipe as well…

I went to Murphy’s and was helped by a very nice lady who gave me good direction on pipes, tobacco, and accessories to get started. I thanked her and went on my way.  It was a funny story at least.

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