Shalimar to Patrons: “Pff! You Will NOT Pour Yourselves Water”

Shalimar is an Indian/Pakistani buffet on Polk Street. If you are thinking of going to this restaurant, be ever so cautious and heed the following:

Do not, under any circumstances, no matter how incredibly thirsty you may become, attempt to pour yourself, or anyone else, water from the pitchers at the beginning of the buffet line.

Do not be fooled into thinking that since the pitchers are found next to the self-serve buffet and the plates, and the silverware, and the napkins, and the glasses, and, for that matter, housed under the roof of a please-help-yourself, take-more-than-you-want, actually-take-more-than-you-could-possibly-ever-need establishment, that it would be prudent of you to refill your own glass.

Shalimar employs water boys, or a water boy, rather (looks like a boy, sounds like a boy, is in fact a man), who, I found out, takes his job very, very seriously. Even more so than Adam Sandler does, or did.

As I reached for the pitcher, a loud, snappy chirp bludgeoned my ear drums...

“Ex-CUSE me, sir! You will NOT pour yourself water! That is MY job!”


He first ripped the sweating pitcher out of my hand, then the glass out of my other. He marched back to where I was sitting, roughly 15 feet away, my arms still at a 90-degree angle to my body in a weird sort of abandoned pouring position from holding said items now taken, filled my glass, water spewing out of the container like Niagara, and slammed it down on the table – all the while never looking at what he was doing, but instead staring fiercely into me eyes.

Everyone in the tiny place had turned their heads to gawk, probably thinking I tried to hold up the buffet at gun point, maybe for money, maybe to cut in line. Who knows? They slowly directed their attention back to their plates, taking small sips from their glasses, scared shitless of having to ask for more.

On Yelp, Shalimar invites guests to “…
indulge in a sweet temptation… there's no excuse!” Actually, Shalimar, I can think of one pretty good excuse, but I don’t know how to say his name. Let’s go with Water Boy. Water Boy is a pretty damn good excuse not to indulge in a sweet temptation or ever set foot in your cursed restaurant again.

Let us further examine the comments found on Yelp.

Connie C.: “I like how they give each table a pitcher of water, because they know you'll keep on needing a refill.”

Well holy fucking shit. What happened here? Connie gets an entire pitcher of water and I get the Water Nazi? Doesn’t seem fair.

Mike W.: “My only warning about the place: avoid the tap water like the plague. Something in the place makes it taste vile.”

Whoa. I didn’t really notice this, probably because I felt privileged just to get one glass and cherished every last drop of it. Maybe Water Boy had another breakdown and started poisoning the pitchers? That’ll really deter them from wanting more and, eek, squash the possibility of them getting it themselves!

Erin R.: “I'm sticking with Naan-N-Curry.”

That’s more like it. Go, Erin!

Lucas M.: “Quick service, cheap prices – pretty spicy though, so prepare to drink lots of water.”

Yeah, Lucas, you know, it was a bit spicy but the whole MURDEROUS STARE and pouring charade kind of did me in. Wish I could’ve.

Vivian K.: “We were brought two pitchers of water and six Styrofoam cups for three people.”


What a menace, that Water Boy - tyrant of the Indian buffet.

You Should Probably be Jealous of My Underpants

This is going to be hard for me to explain to you – accurately explain this feeling to its fullest potential – how happy I am sitting here, sitting here right now in my new underwear.

They’re incredible. They’re soft. God. They’re even stretchy (soft and stretchy!).

Oh man.

I won’t even tell you where I got them because I don’t want you depleting the already limited supply of the world’s best, most comfiest underpants. Tomorrow I’m going back for more. For all of them.

Onto why this warrants discussion/any thought at all. Up until yesterday I could not find a decent pair of underwear anywhere, so I had been living without them entirely for quite some time. And I had been searching for months, years, just for that one pair, that one pair of perfect undies.

So I cast my net far and wide and noticed a startling, alienating trend: a majority of boxers, briefs, boxer-briefs, etc. are now made without an opening to, um, access yourself… like, a man’s self. (This is awkward.) Dudes out there - dudes you probably know or even sit next to - are buying underwear without easy/any admittance to themselves. They’re basically wearing Speedos or big Baby Jesus diapers beneath their pants.

“Now how the hell does this work?” I thought. I felt clueless, like I had missed out on some important lesson/trick that my dad failed to teach me. Why would I not want the opening? I’ve known it all my life! Am I going to drop trou every time I’m in the restroom? I certainly can’t let my coworkers see me in there with my pants around my ankles now, can I? So what gives? Are more males popping a squat for the ol’ No. 1 like the ladies do? Or maybe they just go on themselves?

I’m fascinated, really, you can tell.

I was left with the following options:

1. Buy said skivvies and fashion openings with my box cutter, perhaps adding buttons later on (and learning how to sew in the process).

2. Continue as is, opting out of undergarments altogether.

3. Move on with my quest for the ultimate underwear.

Can you guess which one I chose? Wait, you already know the answer to that one don’t you? I moved on. My search ended when I entered STORE NAME WITHHELD (strange, never liked going in there). At first I was bummed to find plenty of underwear that would seal a gent off to the outside world. But then I noticed a limited selection of pairs with nice little diagrams on their packaging, indicating there was a diagonal opening for me to use. Joy! After examining the fabric, they also seemed like they’d be very cozy and not make me feel like I was being held hostage down there.

I got them, a bunch of them, and now I’m going back for the rest. Revel in my triumph, America! I’m going to be the only man on the block to own 26 pairs of this country’s holiest underwear.

An Open Letter to All Pigeons... Everywhere

Dear pigeons,

I hope this letter finds you well – your feathers clean, your little bellies bursting with food, your fragile legs both very much in tact and functioning, and your eyes uninfected and each fitted snugly into their itsy-bitsy little sockets.

I am writing to you today seeking answers to some concerns I have. We’ve known each other for quite some time now, pigeons, and I feel we’ve reached a point in our relationship where we can be honest with each other – brutally, beautifully honest.

Despite my attempts to teach you manners, you still do not move for passers-by on the sidewalk. The other day I saw a man step on a pigeon. How one gets close enough to a healthy bird to step on it is beyond my comprehension and, more importantly, inexcusable on your part. I’ve noticed that small animals like you pigeons (chipmunks, squirrels, etc.) have become increasingly unafraid of humans, when the reality is that you should be. Make no mistake: we are at the top of the food chain. Remember that thing we talked about? Apparently not. And you guys paid your stepped-on friend no mind. I heard him squawk, and you didn’t even blink or budge. You just focused on picking at bread crumbs stuck in the pavement. Which, the more I think about it, is probably understandable…

I know bread crumbs are about as good as it gets for you, contrary to my efforts to explain the food pyramid. Guys, human vomit is not part of that pyramid, but rather some weird exodus of the pyramid’s semi-digested contents. This stuff is NOT OK to eat! Not food! Alas, I saw you on Monday on the corner of Market and Powell. I’m not going to name names, ahem, Percy, but Jesus Christ let the piece of corn floating in the puke go! It’s not worth it! You’re walking, practically swimming in it and I can see your little barf footprints on the sidewalk – haphazard, wandering aimlessly, circling back on each other three and four times over. For God’s sake – was the bum drunk?

You guys know better. I know you do.

And the pooping. Oh Lord, the pooping. Can’t you find a nice patch of grass to unload on? How about Golden Gate Park, for starters? The place is more than 1,000 acres of woodlands! Even those of you with poor aim and one leg wouldn’t miss! But no. Five of you chose my rental car in the 15 minutes it took me to double park and grab a coffee. Thanks. Nice shots.

At this point, pigeons, I can only hope we don’t have to see too much of each other around town. This city is big enough for the both of us, so should you feel these differences are irreconcilable, I will understand and move on with the rest of my life, pigeon-free.

Mundane Affair

Concerning San Francisco

San Francisco will humble even the pickiest of picky people. My dear, this city is not for the superficial of heart or stomach.

There are bounding hills everywhere, homelessness runs rampant, the weather is downright depressing, rent will bankrupt you and there exists a concerning lack of beautiful people. Topographically speaking, or regarding the subject of scenery or topography, if you study maps, if anyone at all still uses those archaic things, or whatever you want to call it (perhaps land?), it’s actually very pretty. But it pretty much ends there. Mother Earth got all the looks in northern California and beat her people unmercifully with the proverbial Ugly Stick (El Palo de Feo).

But look closer. This is a city of colloquial inner beauty, for sure – also of organic foods, free-range chicken/turkey/beef/dairy/child development/hair/etc., fine wine, activism, venture capitalism, affluence, technology startups, bi/tri/quadlingualism, canine appreciation/celebration, tourism, bike enthusiasm, messenger bag variety, free-trade coffee, not having children (aka “population control”), six-figure salaries, six-figure condos/apartments/small abodes/adobes, pride, eminent earthquakes, bridges, BlackBerrys (BlackBerries?), etc.

The pace is fast, competition and ambition run deep, and it is hard for one not to feel life passing him/her by – rolling like the fog rolls over this peninsula, through these buildings every day as if they were fingers raised from the palm of the earth, pointed toward space – like the frigid water that channels through the painted legs of the Golden Gate. In stride with this feeling, it is also hard for one not to want to disappear amid the shuffling, or stop life’s busy little movements altogether. Or at least for a short while.

Actually, maybe just long enough to take a lunch break a couple times a week.