Most readers know that I live with a monkey named Stephan and that I am working on an autobiographical novel, The Tiger’s Revenge. It was Stephan who saved my life and restored my health after the tiger found me. He somehow booked a crossing on the same steamer that took me from India back to San Francisco, and from the moment I awoke from a feverish dream in my stateroom to see him standing as a sentry atop the wardrobe, he has been my companion ever since. Now he’s editing my work – and maybe even keeping me in line.
What you may not know is that I am also very ordinary. I am concerned about rising rents and out-of-control gentrification in our city. I love getting high. I think of mortality. And, like most of my generation, I know that mixture of joy and frustration with Star Wars ever since the Sand Person jumped to Luke and terrified my five-year-old self—not once, but several times in the summer of 1977. .
Nothing says Star Wars like lightsabers, and no vaporizer looks more like a lightsaber than the CloudV Phantom Premium, especially when equipped with its Aqua Bubbler attachment.
The latest CloudV (pronounced “Cloud Vee”) is listed for $129.99 and can be described as a vape pen. But at 7 inches tall and as big as a lightsaber should be in the hands of a kid’s padawan, it’s bigger and heavier than any vape pen. My colleague Raghavendrous Vader was only exaggerating a little when he raised it and said, “You can kill someone with this.”
The reason? This device has a very nice battery. The chamber is large but as with all vape pens it will take a lot of reloads to get a group of friends going. The battery, on the other hand, just doesn’t last.
The vapor flow is strong, the one-button system with three temperature settings (use the medium setting) is simple. It’s a great product.
But if you live with a monkey who has seen the Star Wars movies many times, be careful with the Aqua Bubbler attachment.
It’s hard to know what another person is thinking, even if that other person is human, speaks English and your friend is Thecla. (I’m not saying we were arguing; I was just expressing a universal truth.) How much more so when the other is a monkey, prone to long, judgmental silences, and watches movies with an intensity that begs the question of whether or not he understands. difference between fact and fiction.
The moment I screwed the Aqua Bubbler into place while sitting at my desk, the roaring buzz of a construction vehicle outside my apartment echoed in a peculiar way along the canyon-like streets of the Tenderloin. It sounded to my ears like the whooshing hum of an activated lightsaber. Alarmed, Stephan turned to see the device in all its glory; to him, the glass top must have looked like an amplifying part from a steampunk lab.
You know how fast monkeys can move. He ran to his stash of possessions he’d smuggled in from India and emerged with his monkey-sized scimitar, eight inches long and terribly sharp. Assuming I could parry his savage cuts with a nonexistent laser blade that didn’t come out of the CloudV, he chased me from the office to the kitchen, into and around the bedroom.
I was finally able to distract him with a handful of his favorite treats (dog snacks and jersey numbers from the New Yorker), but not before the apartment was strewn with clouds of pillows, shreds of a The Duellists DVD cover for me to use as a shield, and traces of my own blood the likes of which I hadn’t seen since the tiger. found me.
Photo by Connor Hunt