THE NINTH ARRIVES with the frost, but at least some sunlight, that sweet frosted sunlight, dolce, dulce, the sugary powdered glazed glasuur stuff that drives away these blues. The frost that slays the wet dark, like that goblin-cleaving blade in Tolkien (you know the one). It’s warm in here though. Warmth at the end of that dark damp tunnel. Black, bleak, and blue. Warmth is the way out into the light. But I’ve also come down with a case of sea sailor’s syndrome, meremehe sündroom (in Estonian), a diagnosis of my own invention. It sneaks up on you, rolls in like the San Francisco fog, billowing over the piers and barking sea lions in the harbor waters, clouding the eyes of the harbormaster with shadowy sinister Alcatraz most distant. It swallows up chunks of your soul, bite by bite, like a counter lunch at Vesuvio. It strikes when you have been away too long, too long from the opposite sex. Too long without comfort, compassion, consideration, care. There is nothing aggressive or pent up or demanding about it. It’s a hunger that erodes you away to your core like salty sea air, slowly, slowly over time. That lingering sense of desperation and desire, drawn out like a frost sunrise in November, that sliver of orange white dashed against the horizon after 4 pm. That there is the thing. The only cure is, well, you know what the only cure is. This however is fortified and entrenched and commandeered by bourgeois sentiment. I hate to be so blunt about it, but when the wind is blowing off the harbor, and the horns of the ships sound, and the seals bark and there is more salty air, dampness, and cruel fog around you, when that Pacific chill bites into you, and you draw your coat in tighter and take a back street up through Chinatown, in that piqued instant, there is no romantic overture, no bouquet of flowers, no expensive jewelry, no melodic tune or real estate investment that can do justice to the the mad cravings that run some men down into numbness and silence like broken dogs. But a good espresso or two today, at the café, sunshine through the frosty windows, and fine dialogues with the all-knowing Lioness, shapely, wise, clear-eyed, and lovely. No complaints from me, today, Tuesday. No complaints.