Yesterday afternoon, after the garden show and before game night, Mac and I went to the grocery store for snacks.
As we were walking into the store, we saw a woman carrying a boy by his upstretched arms, walking him toward a truck. The woman looked familiar, but I didn't think much of it until we get in the store until I realized -- hey, that's my sister.
I'm not the oldest child in my family. Before my parents were married, my father had a daughter by another woman. I didn't know about Shelley until I was in third grade. Mom and Dad left us kids with Uncle Norman and Aunt Janice one weekend while they made a trip to Seattle. When they returned they brought Shelley, this strange girl who was the sister that we never knew we had.
Shelley lived with us for a year (two?) before returning to live with her mother. We saw her from time-to-time after she left, and now see her most years around the holidays. She and I never shared a close relationship, though I do not dislike here. Mostly, she's a stranger to me, and I'm not outgoing enough to make friends with her just because we share blood.
After Mac and I entered the grocery store I realized that the woman was Shelley and the boy was her son, Clayton, and that they were probably in Canby visiting her grandparents. I told Mac that I was going to go say hello, but before I could take my leave we ran into Jimmy Barr.
Jimmy was a year behind me in school. He was on my brother Jeff's soccer team when they were both in third grade. Jimmy was the goalie for their team and I was the goalie for my team. He was always a good kid, if a bit goofy (goofy in a good way). He now coaches football at the high school, and teaches, so he and Mac see a lot of each other. There has been a shooting threat at the school, a threat which involves Jim's mother (who works in the library), so he and Mac had a lot to talk about. I joined them and forgot about saying hello to Shelley.
While the three of us were conversing in the cold cereal aisle, there was a woman standing nearby holding a box of corn flakes. She had a gold chain hanging from her neck, a picture of Jesus resting between her breasts. She wasn't really doing anything -- just standing there. Occasionally she would move toward us and we would part so that she could pass, but she'd always change her mind and head back down the aisle.
Finally the woman could resist no longer. She approached the three of us, interrupted our conversation, began babbling. She told us about the spirits inside of us, about our spiritual family. She told us that we don't need telephones because we have the spirits inside of us, and they can communicate to the spirits inside other people. She told us about the Holy Mother (the Earth Mother?) and said that she wasn't going to mention this but that she's some sort of prophet.
She told us that one of us was going to have some sort of experience: for four days one us would be short of breath. When this happened, the person shouldn't go to the doctor because the doctor would not be able to help. No -- for four days one of us would be unable to breathe and the doctors wouldn't be able to help but when that person finally recovered, it will be a miracle and we'll all know it because of the spirits inside of us.
While she was babbling, Mac and Jimmy made eye contact with her occasionally. I stared directly at the ground. Sometimes we looked at each other, but that was dangerous because it meant we might start laughing. We were trying to think of ways to break free, but the woman wouldn't stop talking and unwritten social laws had us locked in place. I wouldn't look at the woman, though, until she said, "And the one that will have trouble breathing will be you!" and she tapped me in the center of the chest. She told me that I look like the men of the Bible: dark hair, dark complexion, beard. (What dark complexion?)
When we finally manage to escape, we scrambled to the produce section to recuperate: grown men standing in the produce section, laughing uncontrollably.
Paul Carlile came up for game night. This morning he came over and we went for a bike ride.
The weather had turned during the night, become cold, gray and windy and wet. Had we heeded our instincts, opted to avoid the poor biking conditions, we might have been happier.
Paul's much fitter than I am right now (though I'm not in poor condition) and had less difficulty with the conditions. The rain had ceased by the time we hit the road, but it was cold (about 45 degrees) and the wind was strong, gusting out of the south. We pedaled into the wind for eight miles before swinging around to head home. Heading north with the wind at our backs felt fantastic. Now we were achieving speeds around 20mph instead of the 12mph we had averaged as we biked into the wind.
We were near a section of the Molalla Forest Road, that fabled Northwest Passage of biking (for me, anyhow), so I suggested that we ride it. As we were cruising down the private road, making great time, my chain exploded, popped off my bike.
There we were: five miles from Custom Box Service, six or seven miles from home. It was cold and wet and windy.
I gave my keys to Paul and he rode home to Canby to get his van. I picked up my broken chain and started to walk my bike toward Canby. Despite the foul weather, it was a pleasant walk. It felt like November or February, not May: the skies were gray and gloomy, occasionally spitting fits of needle-like rain, the fields looked bleak. When I passed a small creek, I stopped to take some digital photos. The blossoming strawberry plants belied the winter-like conditions, as did the lush trees and the azaleas in full bloom.
When we got back to the house, Paul made French Fries and a Boca burger, I heated some beans. We talked about music and books and the meaning of life.
On this day at foldedspace.org
2005 — Community Garage Sale The Oak Grove neighborhood hosts a community garage sale every year during one weekend in May. This is that weekend. I took a day off work to be here today, and I'm glad I did.
2004 — The Top of My Head Biking to work. Calories in meats. Stinky size 32 jeans. Cookies for breakfast. Sun roofs vs. moon roofs. The Decmeberists are coming. New foldedspace weblogs. Printing from a Mac. Coming out of a funk.
2003 — Longwinded I need to learn how to revise, how to edit myself.
2001 — Long Day It's been a long day already and it's only about half over.