Friday, April 01, 2016

The Scent of Green Tea

The church where Howie’s meditation group (Mission Dharma) meets has kindly made its large room available from 6 – 10 a.m. weekdays for homeless people to lie down and rest. (According to my walking friend, only two out of all the churches in the city were willing to offer this.) A couple of months ago, I noticed a very strong smell in the church, likely something that had been used for mopping the floor after the guests were gone. I decided to bear with it, but after three Tuesday evenings of breathing whatever it was, I had a persistent, almost gagging dry cough, so the past few weeks, I go over there, take a sniff, and then leave again. At least one other group member has stopped attending for the same reason.

When I got to the church this week, Howie and a couple of our more responsible group members were meeting with two people who work at the church, who said the problem should be solved soon. They had been using the strong-smelling cleaner both to mop the floor and also to wipe down the sleeping mats. They have quit using it on the floor, and they’re going to switch to an unscented product for the mats.

The smell was much less pronounced, though not gone, so I started setting up the chairs, my other form of service along with being the greeter. But after five minutes, I got an unmistakable message from my throat that I should go elsewhere. I hope it doesn’t turn out that trace amounts of this stuff cause the same problem as lots of it, because it’s probably in a lot of nooks and crannies in the church and may be evident for quite a while.

A couple of weeks ago, Lisa C. was in town for work and took me out to dinner at Mehfil. It was excellent to be with her, as always.

Several days later, I went to the Embarcadero Center Cinema to see Knight of Cups, Terrence Malick’s new film. Several months ago, my friend who works at Rainbow said she was at this theater and there were only two rows of seats and the people in the first row had to lie down. I was aghast. “That sounds terrible!” I thought. “I’m never going there again!” As I saw when I was there, they have redone everything and there are now nine screening rooms instead of four large theaters, but the place is immaculate and lovely, and the room I was in was totally beautiful, with fabulous enormous recliners. You have to pick your exact seat before going in, but I’m starting to get used to that. (I don’t know why that’s better than walking into the theater, identifying an unoccupied seat and sitting down in it, but it seems to be more and more common.) The Embarcadero exclusively shows independent films; two or three of the previews looked enticing, including the one for Don Cheadle’s movie about Miles Davis.

After that, per Lisa C. having mentioned doing the same, I went to the Ferry Building to buy green tea at Imperial Tea Court. I told the young fellow there that several years ago, someone close to me died, and the first thing that gave me pleasure in the days after that terrible event was opening all of my jars of green tea and smelling them. His eyes lit up and he said that when he gets to work in the morning, he likes to do a bit of that himself. He said, “That’s a sweet story.”

After hearing a snippet of Esperanza Spalding’s new CD Emily’s D+ Evolution on NPR, I got the whole album and am really enjoying it. Her music is assertive, mesmerizing at times, and inventive. It’s nice to see a young woman be such a confident bandleader. She is a bassist, and also a singer and composer.

Toward the end of the month, I saw Hello, My Name is Doris at my new favorite theater, followed by lunch at Fuzio, which included yummy thyme French fries. In the evening, F. and I went to Heung Yuen to celebrate his birthday. I gave him a framed copy of a photo of us that he likes and a little angel to keep him safe in his new neighborhood. I got two of the angels and put them in a small envelope. I wrote on it, “Keep one and give me the other,” so that he could also be a benefactor.
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