My Hurting Head

I know I have a brain because my head is hurting.  My poor brain, getting smaller with age, did not need to be soaked and swollen with the vodka martini which seemed such a good idea at the time.  Seduced by my taste buds I thought one vodka martini would be enough to see me sip through the night.  Mixer free, without the quinine burn of tonic gas. Throw in some olives and I am well on my way to my five a day.

The best I could do under the circumstances . . .

Sitting at a bar in San Francisco, sipping my crisp chilled drink, I took as long as I could. Alas, the meal I ordered took far longer than expected by which time my glass was empty.  My sweet little lamb shank, when it finally arrived before me looking sad and lonely, cried out for the company of a glass of red wine.  I obliged.  It was a happy and companionable partnership.

We left the restaurant in need of an early night.  Alas, another alas when we happened to walk by Eddie Rickenbacker’s during the last, exciting rounds of the San Francisco Giants coming back from down against the St Louis Cardinals playing on the big screens. The warmth of the evening, after the cool of the day, lulled me into accepting the refreshing taste of a Lagunitas IPA.

Such was the long ago of last night. Needing coffee and fresh air, I have sought quiet refuge in the comfort of a cappuccino in my favourite SF cafe.  Yet another alas, albeit a serendipitous one as a pair of musicians hold court in the corner with an excellent practice session on acoustic guitar and banjo. Aided by the efforts of a percussionist wearing a belt of bells about the  waist of his leather trousers.  It was the thumping on the floor of the feet to the beat that let me know my headache was not fading without a fight.

The musicians have since packed up and gone their way.   The crowd has faded leaving me here at the back table in the quiet company of an attorney reading through his large pile of newspapers.  The court jester with the bells is annoying him with an anecdote that is seemingly without end.

Another woman over in the corner, working away on her laptop, asks of no one in particular, how to spell “ganja, as in pot . . .” We all look her way, but, mentally it seems we are all on siesta break.  Away in our own little worlds.  It’s OK, she reassured us, she has found the spelling with a j in there somewhere.  Next comes the question “how to spell schizophrenia?”

Conversations have come and conversations have gone in the course of this one afternoon, all with stories to tell. They have enjoyed talking, they thank me for listening and hope I don’t mind that they have wasted my time.  We are all of us, in our own ways, ancient mariners of some sort, travelling the seas of life, some days rough, some days smooth.  If, by tapping the shoulders of a stranger to tell a tale or two somehow lightens the load, then so be it.

Company has massaged my head into a far more comfortable state with tonight’s choice of drink being the crisp chill of water. Straight up. On the rocks.

A quiet night is calling . . .