Hookahs, the Kasbah, and Charles Boyer: All a Matter of Balance by Kathy





Posted by Kathy Waller


Caterpillar using a hookah. An illustration fr...
Caterpillar using a hookah. An illustration from Alice in Wonderland (Photo credit: Wikipedia). By Sir John Tenniel (“Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” (1865)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As you read this post, please take note of the way the word anyway is used. This will be important later.

So I’m sitting at the computer bar at Bookpeople again. I should be revising a short story that drags on and on–I think it will be a good story, when I finish, maybe next year–but I am distractible. I was not distractible in school. But in real life, especially when I’m still in the grips of May mold, I am a Facebook magnet.

I broke away from Facebook in favor of a task I wanted to do–this–but I can’t stop thinking about my immediate surroundings.

Two empty stools away from me sits a Danish journalist named–no, I’ll omit his name. It’s very Danish, though. He’s stationed in New York and is in Texas to research and write about prison reform. I know all this because he’s talking on his cell phone, and he’s only two empty stools away.

I didn’t know Texas is reforming prisons, but I try not to know too much these days. Some would say I’m abdicating responsibility, and I am, but I like low blood pressure numbers, and getting too much news from the mass media or social media–Facebook, especially–drives them up.

See? Distracted by Facebook again.

I’ll move this along.

On Saturday, my friend Elinor and I joined a gym. It’s new in town, and there’s no contract. No contract was the draw. If we bail, we just call up and say, Cancel, no doctor’s note required, and our husbands don’t have to go down and threaten to beat up a personal trainer to get us free. (I’m pretty sure my husband would say, If you want anybody beaten up, you’ll have to do it yourself.)

Anyway, we signed up. I had my free session with a personal trainer on Monday. He put me through some tests and I flunked. I knew I would flunk.

Here I’ll sidetrack to say that ever since my first stress test, eons ago, I’ve made it a point to go the distance. When the cardiologist doing an echocardiogram said he’d like me to stay on the treadmill for twenty minutes, if I could, I thought, Just you watch. I wasn’t in great shape then, and I thought I was going to fly apart at the joints, but I walked for twenty minutes, right up until he and the technician pulled me off the treadmill and dragged me to a gurney across the room.

It’s a matter of pride. If they’d told me I would have to lie there and hold my breath for a minute or two or three–it felt like eon–I might have let pride off the hook and stopped early. But if I’d done that, I wouldn’t have gotten my head pats. I love it when doctors give me head pats.

Anyway, I wasn’t surprised at flunking the trainer’s tests, because, for various reasons, several of them justified, I’ve spent most of the past five years sitting down. And I won’t deny that I like sitting down. Sitting down is the best thing I do.

But sitting down means losing muscle mass, which leads to loss of balance, which leads to falling. I’ve known this forever, and I’ve thought about it a lot lately, but not enough to take action. I’ve fallen several times. I’m a pretty good faller: My fourth-grade teacher, who, we students thought, knew everything, told us we would be less likely to break bones if we relaxed when we fell. In the past three weeks, I’ve demonstrated she was correct. I wrote about the most amusing fall, the one when my suitcase attacked me in the Washington, D.C. Metro car, at Austin Mystery Writers.

The fall pertinent to this post, however, happened on Tuesday, the day before I was to show up at the gym to work on building muscle mass (funny thing, the personal trainer agreed with me about that). In the BookPeople parking lot, lost in the world of fiction, I stepped off a curb into a vacant parking space and suddenly flew. But not far.  It would have been a soft landing if I hadn’t come down on my left knee. And if the space had been cushioned by more than an oil slick.

Anyway, the knee didn’t hurt much, so I went to an appointment and then went home and ate dinner and then sat down. And when I stood up to go to bed, a stabbing pain told me I should have iced the joint. Icing late isn’t the most effective treatment. Still, the next day, after I’d spent an hour hobbling around like Walter Brennan, I had only a hint of a limp.

Anyway, I was in no condition to tempt fate.

So tomorrow will be my first workout at the new gym.

And I cannot help wishing I’d done it yesterday.

Anyway, the Danish journalist has gone. But his jacket still hangs across the back of the stool. What to do, what to do. I could take it home for safekeeping, then call BookPeople and leave my phone number, and then, when he called, I could tell him to meet me at some exotic venue, where I would return it to him. An assignation, as it were.

Come with me to the Kasbah.

Googling is just filled with serendipity. Checking it for spelling, I found Austin’s Kasbah Hookah Lounge and Bar. My words could never describe it properly, so I’ll quote from the website:

“Hookah flavor of the night at the Kasbah Hookah Lounge & Bar is GOOD TIMES which is a mixture of citrus fruits (i.e. oranges, lemons, cherries, etc.) with hint of mint….yummy!!! Come join us and the “smoking caterpillar” for some “good times” with some great people, great music, and of course deliciously prepared hookahs. Don’t forget about our “pineapple party bowls” and UNLIMITED HOOKAH. NBA playoffs on all the TV’s. We’re open until 2 am and hope to see you here tonight. See you in the cloudz!”

 I’ve wanted to watch someone smoke a hookah since I was seven, the first time I read Alice in Wonderland. But the Austin Kasbah doesn’t appear to be appropriate for an assignation, with the NBA playoffs and all. Anyway, I’ve never had an assignation, I wouldn’t know how to have an assignation, and I’m absolutely certain my husband wouldn’t like me to have an assignation.

The post was supposed end there, but I cannot close it without referring at least once to Charles Boyer. If you don’t know why I have to include him, you are very young.


So that’s that.
Oh. About anyway.
When anyway appears as the first word of a sentence, it’s usually an sign that in preceding sentences or even paragraphs, the writer went off on a bunny trail and is now coming back to the main topic, if he can remember what the main topic is.
It’s like the writer was by his own writing.
If I hadn’t been so distractible today, I could have written this post in about fifty words.
But then I couldn’t have presented this little English lesson, and my readers would have been poorer for it.


In case anyone is wondering, I’ll ask a doctor to verify my diagnosis this week.


Kathy Waller blogs at To Write Is to Write Is to Write (http://kathywaller1.com) and at Austin Mystery Writers (http://austinmysterywriters.com). Two of her stories will appear in the anthology Murder on Wheels, soon to be published by Wildside Press.

Published by Wranglers

This is a group blog under the name Wranglers

12 thoughts on “Hookahs, the Kasbah, and Charles Boyer: All a Matter of Balance by Kathy

  1. I’m not sure who wrote this, but you had me all through it as I searched for some strong point and was entertained the whole journey. I had no idea what a hookah is until now. Very clever


  2. It sounds very much like your mind works pretty much the way mine does. 🙂 Do all writers’ minds wander about like headstrong children? Maybe that’s why we write.


  3. I love rabbit holes. The journey is so much fun. Sorry about the knee and hope the gym will help with the balance thing.

    A joyful journey you took us on. Doris


  4. Fun post with many rabbit holes, Kathy! Quite enjoyed it. I actually took a couple of puffs on a hookah once–on a trip to Egypt. The tobacco was apple flavored, so it actually tasted pretty good. I am not a smoker though, so mostly I ended up with a burning throat and decided I never needed to do that again.


  5. LOL Love the photos. I thought this was by Kathy, but since the writer went down the rabbit hole, I went back and made sure. I updated it for her. This was so cute. Your mind is amazing. I think mine is just boring. This was a fun blog. Thanks Cher’ley


  6. Brilliant! I enjoyed this a lot.
    p.s.I seem to be falling down and getting distracted a lot, Kathy. I’m needing a ‘catchy’ hookah for tweets and promo work! 😉


  7. Rabbit holes, rabbit trails, bunny trails — I love them all! 🙂 How fun to “eavesdrop” and learn so much … and for you to teach us new things, all at the same time! Thanks for an entertaining post!!


  8. So good to know we writers seem to have the same holes! Thoroughly enjoyed the post, Kathy. I do know who Charles Boyer is – (ah, age) and I liked your description of “anyway”).
    So sorry about the fall, I should know, as the champion faller of all time. Only problem is, I go for the head, not the knee!


  9. personally I wouldn’t have written a single word. I find I need quiet and no distractions to write. I do like the way you walked us out and brought us back. Thanks for sharing.


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