Bird in the Hand

On Saturday we drove to Alhambra are the crack of dawn to get the transmission looked at in the car. Just what everybody feels like doing first thing in the morning on a Saturday, but the car needed the attention. For months now, it had been jerking us up short between first and second gear: always at low speeds, but that wasn’t much consolation when it happened on the approach to an intersection or when trying to make a left hand turn across oncoming traffic while pressing the accelerator to the floor hoping that the gear would finally decide to catch.

Alhambra was all the way across the valley from where we live. It didn’t make sense to drive two vehicles out, and until we knew what kind of repairs needed to be done and how long they would take, we didn’t really know if we’d need to get a rental. So we decided to make a bit of a date of it: we’d drive out the car, drop it off at the service center, then see what kind of entertainment Alhambra had to offer at eight in the morning on a Saturday morning.

Our first stop was to a bakery and coffee shop called 85°C. We loaded up on pastries and coffee that completely flaunted any ambitions we might’ve had of getting on or sticking to a diet plan. We just sat and talked for about an hour, which was nice: we hardly ever get to do that anymore.

Afterwards, we wandered up the street to a shopping center. There was a movie theatre across the way and we debated catching a matinee of Hobbes and Shaw or Once Upon A Time In Hollywood but we didn’t want our phones to go off in the middle of the movie when the service center decided to call us back with their diagnosis. So instead we wandered around Burlington Coat Factory and Five Below and generally stimulated the economy buying things we only kinda needed with money we only kinda could afford to spend. We lamented our spendthrift ways. We drowned our sorrows in dark chocolate.

I got a new lunchbag, anyway: now I don’t have to carry my lunch around in a secondhand shopping bag.

Our warranty covered only a fraction of the cost of our repairs, which was annoying, but better than nothing. We waited for the work to be finished in a waiting room; the TV tuned to Fast and Furious: Muscular Bald Dudes Dodging Explosions while I tried simultaneously to read “Bridget Jones’s Diary”. It made for a strange combination of conflicting impulses.

By the time we made it home we just wanted to nap, but neither of us could sleep. Eventually I dragged myself out of bed to go for a run before dinner and then eventually heading back to bed.

All in all, a good day.

Sunday, we slept in. My goal for the day was to get outside and work in the yard, but by the time I was actually ready to do so, it was well into the heat of the day. But if I wanted to try to propagate my rose cuttings I needed to get them into the ground, so I slathered on the sun repellant and headed outside into the scorch.

According to the internet, if you dip a rose stem in honey and then embed it in a potato and then plant it in the garden, you can get roses to propagate. I happened to have roses and I happened to have honey, so we bought a bag of potatoes to give it a try. It took two hours to dig up the Bermuda grass and get all twelve clippings in the ground, but it was worth it: I now have a garden full of thorny leafless sticks.

Gardening: a leap of faith.

I went for a run as the afternoon wore on. On the outward leg of the run I nearly stepped on a live bird sitting on the bike path. It fluttered is wings but failed to take off: I wondered if it was a fledgling that hadn’t yet learned how to fly. Worried that someone else might run it over I tried to shoo it across the path, but it mostly just fluttered in panic at the enormous human looming over it. I finally managed to get a hand on it- terrified that I’d accidentally hurt it- and carried it to the fence nearby in order to let it go in a place of relative safety. I don’t know if it helped anything, but it would have bothered me to do nothing.

So, that was my weekend. Now on to another busy and complicated week.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on August 5, 2019.

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