the weather lately has been unpredictable. yesterday was unbearably hot, and today promises another descent into the furnace. not much to do except to survive it, i guess. so to my fellow californians, drink plenty of iced water, try to stay cool, and be safe. if you drive, don’t be stingy and turn on your ac. better that than a heat stroke.
this past weekend i was in dire need for nourishment, so i went with this delectable option.
that’s a bowl of beef noodle soup, or pho in the original language. here in socal, pho is a staple of asian cuisine, along with other famous asian dishes like fried rice and sushi. i’ll just say that the healing power of pho is phenomenal; it’s the perfect blend of spices, meat, soup, noodles, and veggies all in one bowl. anthony bourdain loves this stuff. people say that the ones in vietnam are wayyy better, but vietnam is like a few thousand miles away, and i like the local version just fine. when i get the chance, i’ll sample the authentic pho. until then, i’ll go with the ones i can find around the neighborhood.
before we begin, just want to briefly mention a chalk comparison. a while ago i tried and reviewed the nir super professional chalk. after comparing the nir to its sister product, the blue diamond chalk, i have concluded that the blue diamond works much better than its kin. granted, the super pro is a good chalk, but the bd just sticks to the tip better, and doesn’t make a big mess. plus, the bd chalk has a much finer grain than the super pro; the little dust that comes off the bd when you chalk looks almost mist like. the dust from the super pro, in contrast, seems heavier and drops to the ground faster than the dust from bd. so for me, i’ll stick with the blue diamonds because they are (to me) a better product. my impression: master chalk/triangle chalk = average, nir super pro = good, blue diamond = better. when i get enough change from my panhandling gig, i may pony up for that magical kamui
crack powder chalk and give it a spin. (my fellow bloggers ms. omgwtf and mr. frerking both reviewed the kamui chalk some time ago; check it out if you like.) that is assuming i can find any in stock. and now, back to our regularly scheduled broadcast.
i previously wrote this post about something completely different. after reading through it a number of times, i didn’t think the post said what i wanted to say. so i decided to change the whole thing and do a little personal narrative. after all, picking on myself is more instructive.
it’s hard to make friends at the pool hall.
i think that at the pool hall, it’s easy to make acquaintances. if you have been going to a pool hall for some time, you will probably have a bunch of them, and that’s just the natural progression of frequenting any business. at the pool hall, you’re likely to get to know the counter person, the regulars who play there, players you practice with, people you buy and sell pool equipments to and from, and hustlers and gamblers trying to make a game. but for me, i can’t say that i have friends at the pool hall. i think that at pool halls, there is a basic element of distrust, which create an atmosphere not friendship-inducing.
of course, i’m talking strictly about myself. when i say friends, i’m referring to a specific definition of my own choosing. simply put, it’s who i share with. for example, when i have a great day, i don’t call acquaintances to celebrate; i don’t know these people well enough to have their phone numbers. instead, i call up my friends for some good old revelry and grubs. if i have had a terrible day, that too is reserved for my friends. joy, pain, meals, drinks, company–in some ways, my friendship is defined through sharing.
at the pool hall though (and i suspect in many other areas of life), we have many different people with many different ideas of what a friendship should be. some are content at the surface level: a shallow and loosely-defined type of friendship. others view friendship as an ever-changing set of alliances due to switch any second depending on what is happening, or what is perceived to be happening. and there are the loners who don’t feel the need to know anyone, except maybe a small handful of people.
looking back on my pool days, out of the hundreds of people i’ve met, i had made exactly one friend. a shocking statistic to me, when i think about it. so now you know my bias.
in a previous post i touched on the subject of “limited purpose venue”, or lpv. the reason i look at pool halls as a limited purpose venue is because to me, there isn’t a lot to do at the pool hall except to play pool. since i believe that i’m more likely to make acquaintances at a pool hall than friends, i focus on pool when i go. i rarely eat at the pool hall. sometimes i’ll buy a soft drink, but that’s about it as far as my tab goes. for me, pool halls are a true lpv, because the social aspect is fleeting at best, the owner has put the disco plan on halt, and the steakhouse inside the pool hall is not forthcoming. the only constant thing at a pool hall is pool.
when i see the people at the pool hall hanging out with one another, i can’t help but think certain questions. do they share meals with one another? do they share stories and jokes and private laments? do they care about one another as i do with my friends? am i just socially inept and thus incapable of making friends? and most important of all, do i actually want to make friends with people at the pool hall? i say the last statement without an ounce of snobbery. i’m not looking down at the people at the pool hall; it’s simply a flat question i ask myself. we all do it when we meet new people: do i want to be friends with that person? so please don’t take it the wrong way.
the answer to my questions is that i don’t have an answer, just like i don’t have answers to most of life’s questions. which is apropos, because pool is often a microcosm of life. and since i don’t have answers to my questions, i will remain a poolriah, looking from outside in.