Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Carla and I lurched along the sidewalk from her house to Trader Joe's and then back again. A somewhat quixotic errand--alright, crazy--it's half a mile each way. But Carla gamely said, "Let's try it." So we tried it. On the way back she said, "I don't think I can do both legs of this trip anymore," and it was decided that next time we'll just walk one way and have a car waiting on the other end. Magic cab.

We laughed a lot as we were lurching, trying to manouver the piece-o-shit grocery cart with one hand, which doesn't work well with cracks in the sidewalk. She thinks Johnny Depp is a dreamboat--I beg to differ. Johnny Depp is a little boy playing dress-up. Give me Viggo Mortensen any day. (This is a highly expurgated account of one small part of the conversation.)

The more important part--really the heart of the conversation, no matter what the topic--is how fleeting everything is. Only a few months ago we made it easily to the top of Solano, which is a fair-sized hill. Now, no longer.

When I spend time with Carla I am aware of living inside a myth. Not a fairy-tale--an old-fashioned primal myth. The Descent of Inanna. Sisyphus. The impossible koan of human experience. It's beautiful and painful and enlivening. Fortunately we can argue about who's cuter, Johnny Depp or Viggo Mortenesen, for all eternity.

I also told her I want to be included with the rest of the girl-posse when we go to MAC cosmetics to learn how to do her make-up for her, despite my having said I would not trust myself with a mascara wand anywhere in the vicinity of someone else's eyes. (That's all she needs right now--to be blinded by a good friend who's trying to help her look pretty while dealing with ALS.) But I think the MAC outing will be a hoot, and I'm sure I can learn to apply foundation, blush and eyeshadow with the best of them.

On my way home, after a brief shopping trip, I got pulled over on the freeway, because of expired tags. The cop was about 16 years old. He directed me (via bullhorn) to pull over somewhere in the middle of West Oakland. I ended up sandwiched between a vacant lot and a billboard, looking at a freeway overpass. I made the mistake of leaving my key in the ignition while he was writing out his slap-on-the-wrist fix-it ticket, and after 20 minutes in the broiling hot sun, the battery died. The cop and his buddy drove off to fight crime and there I was stuck in West Oakland.

I called C; I called Triple A. I sat in the car and sweated. Triple A finally came, the guy gave me a jump and told me I need a new battery. I proceeded homeward, jumped in the shower, threw a salad together and Vicky came over. We had a nice dinner and chat--she's also a special ed teacher, so she and C had much to commiserate, celebrate and agitate about.

The day was a day of catastrophes narrowly averted; the ticket could have been much worse, getting a new battery is about the cheapest fix you can make to a car, and the house had been left unlocked for half a day because of Masankho forgetting to lock up after the Comcast guy, and yet luckily no one had broken in and stolen C's guitars, amps, speakers, or my laptop. Thank God!

Monday night I went to the Playwright's Foundation class. I like the teacher Liz Duffy, very much. Her energy reminds me of my old theatre friend Karen Henry, so gentle and thoughtful, yet with a spark. She had us write the world's worst 2-page play as an opening exercise. I thought the class would be based on the I Ching and I brought my book--instead it turns out to be based on the Tao Te Ching. Went out and bought it yesterday--that was one of my shopping errands. The Tao Te Ching is all about accomplishing things without making an effort, not getting all caught up in striving., just letting things take their course. It seems a good philosophy to learn to live by these days.

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