Pipe tobacco

February 2, 2011 ☞ Personal inventory

Some proof of my affinity for the number thirty-seven.

There’s a tobacco shop near my house that’s rarely open. The owner takes off frequently for months at a time, presumably on smoky jaunts to The Old Country. It’s a treat when the storefront isn’t obscured by a corrugated sheet metal door, and on one such occasion, I strolled in.

I don’t smoke, so I really had no business being in there. But it smelled nice, and an old lady behind the counter was really keen on helping me out. The aroma of the wood and the tobacco took me back to when I was on exchange in Europe, and everyone smoked like they were trying to set a world record. For most of my friends there, smoking was as big a part of their identity as not-smoking is of mine. I remembered liking the aroma of Amsterdamer (a French brand) and asked about it.

The lady responded that they really didn’t have much in the way of rolling tobacco, and by “they” she meant “society in general.” Er, what? I was dumbfounded, and in my daze she suggested I try something called Cheetah. Perhaps she had heard about my animal-like quickness.

“Isn’t this pipe tobacco?” I asked, noting the clearly written words on the package.

“No, no,” she replied. It’s smooth. It’s fine.

I have to re-iterate: I don’t smoke. But when I noticed it was mixture number thirty-seven, I couldn’t resist. It’s my favourite number. So, I bought it. I tried smoking it. It sucked.