it must be difficult to manage a corner store if you're insane. i was too lazy to trudge up to searchlight market for a carton of milk after mailing letters on polk street, so i tried the place on union instead. i'm not sure that they were selling anything - the four or five refrigerators looked like the one in my apartment, and none of them would open. there were a few bottles of wine on the floor in front of the counter, but the room's focus was definitely several dozen ishtar and romancing the stone cassettes. the guy behind the counter was engrossed in one of those, and he wasn't interested in confirming the presence or absence of milk. fine, then.

insanity in oxford, on the other hand, was a big advantage for the old jamaican chap who owned hi lo. bars were required to close at eleven, but this place was open until five in the morning sometimes - who was going to argue with scary dreadlocked-beard man? he had a tendency to scream at patrons for breathing too loudly and his eight-year-old grandson charged three quid for warm cans of red stripe, but an after-hours bar is an after-hours bar; it was always jammed. i was one of his wife's favorite customers until i had to step on a seat cushion to get to the restroom one night. that was the end of my acquaintance with hi lo, but i bet it's still packed to the rafters.

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