When I’m rushing through the aisles of Safeway desperately looking for extra firm tofu or almond milk or grated Parmesan the last thing going through my mind is a story line, or genre, or theme. There’s just no time for context.
I may have sipped too much coffee and could be dealing with restrooms being temporarily out of order. I may have forgotten that my gas tank is empty and needs refilling before I can rush home to mix up a batch of muffins. I may have neglected to defrost salmon which has to be cooked for a dinner to be consumed by a full house of guests in just over an hour.
But something as simple as a snapshot can help isolate the charm. And if I let myself get thoroughly lost in my head I can even drum up some drama (which around here is a more subtle strain of the stuff than what qualifies in say Berkeley or Boston). Drama around here consists of finding the right tool when you are three-fourths of the way through a job or knowing how to detach a trailer from a resistant hitch or anticipating the pressure that six bags of mixed concrete is going to have on a form made of quarter-inch plywood or wondering who’s going to take care of the dog when you decide impulsively to visit family in San Francisco.
Among the islands in the stream I’ve encountered up here — and I mean true islands that appear when the current gets swift — are Jeff and Bill. Quite different chaps, I’d be a lesser person without them. Neighbor Bill is often managing the conversation (as he is here) but he never seeks to control it. It’s Bill’s tools that often save me and my projects. His creative ideas too. Jeff is no slouch when it comes to problem solving. One look at my house and you can see the hand of Jeff on many, many projects. Today, after a morning migraine and many therapeutic walks with the dog, I ended up, mid-afternoon, on Bill’s back porch during a break in the action (today’s next-door action was leveling of soil and then some trimming back of unruly vegetation and trees grown wild).
The story line here, when I give myself a chance to think about it, is about escape and coping. I’m pretty good at the former but less of a pro at the latter. Of course it’s the gap that provides the tale. And it’s these guys among others who do the rescuing when my tide turns.