Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tidying Up

Let’s do a little housecleaning, shall we?

You know my poor car has been stranding me for about a year now, and you remember my agonizing about loyalty: Do I stick with my beloved mechanic or switch to the place that actually fixed the problem?

Not to worry! The new place didn’t fix the problem, despite its two-hundred-dollar solution. I got stranded at a fancy house at the Pasadena Yacht and Country Club while delivering a mailbox. The well-off woman and the sweaty, raggedy artist made awkward conversation while waiting nearly an hour for Triple A.

And that’s another story. I so resent getting letters from AAA, telling me I’m over-using their services. In the many years when I’ve used their precious services not at all, did I get letters thanking me for being so kind as to give them money for absolutely nothing? I did not.

But let’s get back to the mailbox, okay? You Facebookers know that I took a commission for a mailbox. The woman wanted a peach background with palm fronds on top. Well, after the first ten minutes, I saw that I wasn’t giving her what she wanted at all. I was giving her what I wanted her to want. I went out and bought another mailbox and painted it per instructions. (Hey! I didn’t get fired just to follow instructions!)

I brought both boxes and gave her a choice. Which do you think she chose? The one at the top of this blog, or the one below this paragraph?

But let’s get back to the car, okay? I’ve heard of jump boxes, so I looked at some online. I even watched a video on how to use one. That’s my solution: A charged battery that I carry in my car. When it acts up, I jump it with the jump box, and I’m not stranded, I’m merely inconvenienced for a couple minutes. I can handle that!

Ah, but the clerk at the auto parts store said, “Sweetheart, you don’t need a jump box. You need a master ultra-static relay. You can only get ’em at the dealership. It’s a hundred bucks. It’ll fix your problem.”


Oh wait! Not yay. Toyota had never heard of a master or slave ultra-static relay. Neither had Jon, the aforementioned beloved mechanic. The plan now is for me to show up at nine tomorrow morning. He’ll install a brand new, Toyota-built distributor assembly. I made him give me a percentage on how sure he is that this would solve the problem. I have, after all, had a new starter, new alternator, new battery, new fuel pump, new fuse, and new fuse box in the last year. And look at me! I was also willing to have a new master ultra-static relay!

He gave me ninety-six percent, so we’re on.

Okay. And remember those holes in my lawn? They turned out to be big beetle bugs. I rarely see them alive. I can’t imagine how they spend their days. I do, however, have photographic evidence of how they spend their afterlives. Look at that! Spiders have strung up at least two of those giant beetles. One was tied up to this little pot of flowers that, clearly, didn’t have enough to drink that day, and the other was roped up to the rosemary. What the heck? The bugs are empty, too. Now, maybe the spiders are carrion-eaters. Maybe they just wait for the bugs to die and dry out and then they drag them home. They’re decorative planters, for all I know, and soon we’ll see spider-sized geraniums spouting out of the bugs’ ears. Still, I suspect foul play, both before and after death.

I have no idea why I must take such horrendous, out-of-focus photographs. My favorite soothsayer sayed a man would teach me -- for free -- so, step up, lads!

And books. I’ve just read The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I really liked it. A Southern friend has no interest. She said she lived it. Or maybe she resents everyone pushing it on her just because she has a beautiful accent. In any case, I liked it a lot. It’s a book about a book about the relationships between the colored help and the white helpees in Jackson, Mississippi, in the early 1960s.

I See You Everywhere by Julia Glass was good, too. In fact, I’ve had a nice run of good books, which I deserve, having read Close Encounters of the Third Kind just before John Updike’s The Widows of Eastwick. I had enjoyed The Witches of Eastwick in the eighties and so expected to enjoy this. I was wrong.

I just finished The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, as prompted by my wise friend in Minnesota, Kati. Parts of it were too intellectual for me. I had to stop and think. And parts of it were so profound, I had to stop and think. And it was funny and suspenseful, with cats and wealthy foreign men. Well, I guess all the men were foreign, since it was written in French (but read in English, I assure you).

Anything else? I guess not. I’m just waiting for my computer to give the go-ahead to Well, and to Facebook and my bank, too. Suddenly, I’m told that those sites are having problems with their security certificates. I doubt it. I fear it’s my own computer. If it were universal, I could accept it with good grace. I’d just sigh and wait. If it’s just mine, though, I’ll burst into flames.


Hah! instead of anything dramatic, I merely eed the right man with the right question. My computer's time had reverted to January 2002. No wonder it was upset!

Thanks, mcd.


Steven said...

I hope she picked the second mailbox. Call me selfish, but, I want the first one!

Anonymous said...

The first one! It's beautiful! You are a really fine writer - do more of that!

flahoos said...

At first glance I thought this "peach color" was actual FLESH and you were branching out into tattooing; I hope the client chose "Door #1".

Anonymous said...

I TOLD you those holes in the lawn were from bugs, because I had them too. Only I didn't find any carcasses; I saw them alive. They seem to be harmless, though their size is awesome and they do leave holes in the lawn surrounded by little gray mounds (dirt? spittle? dung?). You may not find any at all next year; maybe they're cyclical, like 17-year locusts? -- Eunice

Diane from Pinellas Park said...

I like the first mailbox the best too. Those beetles are big enough to be hedgehogs! I've never seen them that big & hope I never do.

Barbara A. Lewis said...

And so, you know that I am a nature nut as well as an artist, and I collect dead bugs, er, so if you find a carcass that is not totally decayed can you save it for me to study?

And I loved the first mailbox for my two cents opinion, but I love everything you create…