The Thoughts of a Frumpy Professor

............................................ ............................................ A blog devoted to the ramblings of a small town, middle aged college professor as he experiences life and all its strange variances.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Potentially "Playing With Fire?"


I was perusing the Internet looking for interesting things to potentially do in Des Moines when I get there Friday.  I know I will be trying to get to the Ethiopian restaurant they have, and I am hoping to go to one of the two Indian restaurant's they have.... BOTH of which still have a lunch buffet!!!!!!  Lunch buffets at an Indian restaurant are a SPECIAL treat as you can sample small bites of MANY of the wonderful foods of Indian cuisine.  None of the local Indian restaurants in my region have had buffets since Covid.  

Obviously, I am going there to do work related to the conference I am attending.  It is an interesting research focused conference.  So, a lot of time will be spent there.  However, my time IS a bit more flexible there than was in the team/collective writing project I was at in Chicago in December.  

So, as I was perusing the Internet, it occurred to me to look up pipe shops in Des Moines.  Well, there wasn't a helluva lot.  Sure, there were probably a dozen "head shops" for folks indulging in that greener leaf, there were several of the "tobacco shops" that sell cigarettes and vaping supplies, and there were even vape and cigar stores. 

But.... there WAS one seemingly ALMOST traditional pipe tobacco shop that I DID find.  It is called David's Fine Tobaccos, and has been around since 1956.  From what I was able to glean online, it appears to be a RELATIVELY traditional, old-school pipe shop.  It even has a space that is their "lounge" that looks more like a classic small diner with several tables and chairs.  From the history I read, the place has had to move around a lot.  It was in the center city, then moved to a Mall during the heyday of malls, and now it is seemingly located in a relatively new building that appears to be located at the cusp of suburbia and the edges of the city's rather elite Drake University.    The “almost” aspect is that it also appears to sell hookahs and the tobacco that is used with them.  That isn’t necessarily a problem, but I am unsure if the clientele will be traditional Eastern European, Middle East, and Western Asian folks (good) or more “head shop” type folks (not so good).  If hookahs are a large part of the business, I hope the clientele is of the more traditional folks.  

I also explored how to get there, as it is not really within normal distances to the main city, and especially not close to the Convention Center where my work is occurring.  What I found is that Des Moines apparently has a pretty good and well established bus system, and it appears that I SHOULD be able to take a 20 minute bus ride and get off about only ~1/2 mile from David's Fine Tobaccos. 

* * * 

Now...  After concluding my story of my Chicago trip, a friend and reader of my blog (who I happen to also know face-to-face) asked me if I had smoked my pipe beyond that one bowlful in Chicago.  I assured him that the answer was "No.".   I do admit that a few times, especially immediately after Chicago, I did want to throw in the towel.  The bowlful I had in Chicago was truthfully wholly wonderful and amazing in every way I could hope for.  It was, BY FAR the most exciting experience while in Chicago.... and overall Chicago was a good trip in many ways.  

But... even though it WAS hard, especially at first when I got home, I did succeed in returning to the fast.  I have not smoked any more pipe tobacco since that beautiful bowlful.  I had assumed folks would realize this as I had continued to put up my PCS scores.  

* * *

So, in a nutshell... as I prepare to head out tomorrow, I am considering taking a trip out to David's Fine Tobaccos while I am in Des Moines... and I am considering taking one or perhaps two pipes with me.  It has been three months since I had the bowlful in Chicago.  I am thinking this may mean I MIGHT have found a way succeed TO HAVE an occasional pipe, but not fall back into the old level of my pipe smoking, which was wonderful.... but caused me worry and anxiety that was NOT wonderful.  

So, not sure if I will have time, but if I do..... I may take a trip there.  If the ambiance and the opportunity is even only 1/5th as "urbanely bucolic" and simultaneously invigorating and thoughtful as was Iwan Ries.... it may be a delightful way to spend a few hours in the afternoon or evening one of the days I am there.  

Again, it has been three months.  I am thinking I have proven to myself I can do this.  But, I may both literally and figuratively be playing with fire.  I do not really know.  I would be more than happy to hear comments or advice.  

* * * 

  • Ran 10.5 miles this morning (~17 km) this morning.  The new shoes are finally starting to feel normal.
  • PCS = 8... I would LOVE to have a pipe.
  • Family..... everyone appears to be STABLE at the moment.... even my BIL.  He had a rough evening two days ago and I was thinking he'd have to head back to the hospital.  But, has been feeling pretty average since then.  
  • All has been quiet on the "person I cannot talk about here" front as well.  That has relaxed my disposition appreciably.  


P.S.  The fellow pictured at the top of this post IS NOT me, of course.  And, my beard and mustache are considerably longer, more wiry/bristly,  and fluffier than that now..... although for perhaps at least 30 years the length he displays WAS the length I aimed for as well.  The fellow is a person from the London Pipe Club, and I remember reading something about him several years ago in one of the pipe magazines I was glancing through at.... a pipe shop.   



Blogger Unknown said...

I know I'm in the minority here, Professor, but I am fully supportive of your current "treat when traveling" approach. I just urge you to be kind to yourself if at some point you do decide that it's time to return to your old friends full-time. I spent years away from my pipes, years ago, but have never regretted coming back. And yet, for many of us, pipe smoking is tied to particular memories, times, and places -- so if you can re-program yourself so that your pipe-place is "while traveling" you may have found a way to put a very natural boundary on your indulging. Best wishes for all the different aspects of your trip to Des Moines, kind sir!

Thursday, 30 March, 2023  
Blogger Margaret said...

I think your pipe as an occasional treat approach is perfect. I do coffee out the same way--not as a daily habit (too expensive) but as an excuse for socializing with a friend over a coffee I don't have to make! Glad that the kid situation has settled down-whew. Wish I could say the same.

Thursday, 30 March, 2023  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Did you purchase a pouch in Chicago, even if you wouldn’t use it? What is the protocol after being given a bowlful, or did you purchase that bowlful?

Friday, 31 March, 2023  
Blogger GaP said...

Professor...I know your reasons are your own...but pipe-smoking gave you SO much transcendent pleasure, your entries and vivid descriptions of the art and practice of the gentle hobby were virtually glowing on the page. I became a (occasional) pipe-smoking not in small part because of you. There's a lore, tradition, and comradeship about it that genuinely brings out the best in people. I'm proud to say that I've passed out of the noob phase. I'm proud that I finally learned to pack correctly, that I learned how to light with a match as well as a lighter. I'm delighted that I have my cadence down. It's a contemplative fraternity that I'm honored to be part of. I've got about twenty-five pipes and a wide range of tobaccos to sample...but my favorite seems to be the NORMAN ROCKWELL line of tobaccos. Not sure if they are aromatic or not. But they are nutty, earthy, and a pleasure to smoke. Perfect for a cob. And yes, had a part in bringing me here. Pipe-smoking made me a better person and I'm glad I made room for it in my life. Infinitely preferable to the full-on addictive nature of cigarette smoking. It would be a great honor to have you back in the fold...but you have to do what's right for you. But just know that THE FRUMPY PROFESSOR had a part in making my life better through the gentle art.

Sunday, 02 April, 2023  

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