Smokin' Crack, Waaaay Coolo -- by Pao Tzu
Snow in Berkeley
By Pao Tzu
Pigdog Staff Writer
It snowed like hell on me last night.
Well, not like hell, snow in hell would be a lot colder.
I morphed into a miniature glacier on 23rd and San Pablo in Oakland...
it quit hailing on me so I thought I could run down the street to try
and use the payphone (again) when at about 3 or 4 am it started
snowing... and I got all covered with ice. My hands started to turn
purple, I ran out of cigarettes, my lighter went dead, I lost my Zig
Zags on the sidewalk, and then I tried to get a cab but they said they
didn't have anyone on duty yet who was gonna come to where I was.
Bastards. I even told them I had a little extra "gift" for any driver
they'd send me. The operator didn't understand what I was talking
about, he's all making no sense like "en pree taxee's aveeleble he
And so I'm just thinking 2 hours until that damned bus comes. But
snow just falling on me in these annoying little surges of stillness.
Cold wind. Still wind, snow. Cold wind, still wind, snow...
So I'm wondering what's going on? Did New York's weather spread into
Oakland like some kind of Ebola virus? Did terrorists plant some kind
of cold weather biochemical warhead in our ecosystem? If they did,
bomb them. What do they give us? Incoherent taxi drivers, heroin,
bad diplomatic relations, and women who wear scarfs on their heads.
A taxi shows up. Gave me that look like "there he is, the only white
guy" and stopped, asks me "you call for a cab?" Turns out he was from
some super hot part of Pakistan and had never seen snow before. He
always imagined it as a white sheet extending over vast mountains in
the winter. Not as some alien crystals forming frozen legions on your
back at 4 am in Oakland. So I tell him to take me to a bus stop so I
can catch the 13. We get there and the bus ain't even close to coming
so I tell him he should just wait. So he lights up a cigarette and
asks me if I mind. Do I mind?? My heart raced with the kind of
anticipation only felt by those who've experienced prolonged junkie
mentality. A cigarette! I bum one off of him.
Korean cigarettes! If there is a God, or an Allah, he blessed that
guy with some fine tobacco products. As I inhaled the smoke of that
cigarette, coughing up Lord knows what, talking trash about the
various fiends walking by, I felt pure tranquillity. I imagined myself
as frosty the snow man, no, better yet, like a frost giant in one of
those dungeons and dragons magazines. I knew that if I just had the
right set of skis I could make a run all the way from San Pablo in
Oakland to Market St. in Richmond without losing any momentum.
By the time the bus got there, my tab was $25.20, so I gave him $30,
and caught the bus and got a transfer. Then I got off the bus at Baja
and got some generic cigarettes that for some reason now cost $3.25
and thought about future arctic adventures, finding El Dorado, meeting
Santa Claus, and taking bongloads with him out of a gold bong.