What Twenty Dollars Gets You These Days And A Bunch Of Hummingbirds

I made the promise of good literature today and I am ready to come through with that.. finally (a little before midnight). It has been hours and hours of uncertainty before I could finally say that with confidence. Let me tell you.

Yesterday I called the cobbler almost right after publishing the last post. The cobbler was shocked I had to ask. “Of course they’re done,” he told me. When I asked the price he told me to name a number. I nervously tossed that response aside saying I would do that after I saw them. I wanted to say $40, but I had a small nagging voice that told me I shouldn’t insult him. He asked me to tell him my phone number so I rattled it off with the usual stuttering of a person who still hasnt memorized their own number after four months. I heard papers rustling. “Ok, it’s twenty,” he said

“Twenty dollars?!?!” I questioned.

“No forty,” he changed his mind.

“Ok that sounds more like it.”

I heard chuckling on the other end.  “No, twenty dollars is all it is.” My mouth fell, I was glad we were talking over the phone and not in person where he could see my astonishment. I tried to contain my shock when I spoke again. I didn’t need him changing his mind for real. I thanked him and told him I’d be by to pay him little later.

When I told Andrea the grand total her response was similar to mine. “Twenty dollars?!?!”

We discussed my good fortune and awesomeness of the cobbler, and then Andrea told me that her vans brakes had gone out and it had to go to the shop. This changed all my scenarios for the day. I have been borrowing the farm truck to run around while the bike has been parked. The farm truck and the farm van are the two vehicles that Andrea has. The van is mainly meant for farmers markets and dropping off produce, but since it was out of play and at the shop,  it meant the truck would be used in its stead. This meant I didn’t actually have a vehicle to drive down to the cobblers in. This meant that I had to just live with the dreamy image of a twenty dollar bill floating through my head as it wrapped itself around my shiny, fixed, boots. What a beautiful exchange to think about. Things are the way they are on a farm and I wasn’t too put out by putting off the test ride. It was a beautiful day and I was happy enough to just stick around the house, soaking in the sunshine, and occupying my mind with other thoughts. Twenty dollars for fixed boots really lowers the stress levels it turns out.

Andrea also thought of another thing I could work on. She assigned me to the painting of a sign that hangs at the entrance to the farm. That certainly suited me. If I can’t ride than I might as well paint. Two of my most favorite things in the world really.

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Brookey totally posed for this photo. I call this her 'Girl With A Pearl Earing' glamor shot.

I painted for a while, and then it started to get foggy. The air temperature outside started to drop drastically. It went from what felt like 80° to somewhere near 50°. I didn’t really want to hang around in the garage at that point. Though I cleaned Andrea’s garage it still has the musty smell of a garage that never freezes. For this fact I don’t like to be in it without all the doors open. When it is 50° outside I don’t feel like leaving the doors open. My pickyness chased me into the house where I decide to prepare for dinner with the girls. I put on my fancy, Norwegian knit, sweater which sort of lended a properness to my grimy shop jeans if one didn’t look to close at the ensemble. I assumed the women wouldn’t.

Andrea had made a merengue, the first I’d ever had I believe, and while waiting for the girls I had to keep myself from sampling it. Instead I turned my eyes outward to observe the fog moving in. I started to write as I waited. A sample of that writing:

The fog is moving in and I swear it is putting the birds into more of a fluster. They appear to be fluttering around more than usual.

The rest was just about as deep. My mind was not up for writing the earlier, happier, thoughts of a twenty dollar bill and a pair of boots dancing through my mind. My opus was being obviously influenced by the impending weather. That’s ok, it happens to the best of us. The drama was only increased by a sudden barking from somewhere outside the house. I assumed it was Brookey. It sounded like the bark of the golden retriever. Inside her voice was joined by the overly vocal Stiches, a dog who lives to voice his opinion I have determined. I must have breathed in a little too much of the outside air because my brain seemed filled by the same fog. I wondered who could possibly be out there, and why the dogs were going crazy. My paranoia was on alert as I snuck out the door to check, cellphone in hand. The first time I cased the place I couldn’t find Brookey, but she continued to bark. Stiches followed me as made my way, stealthly. I went back inside to consider the options and then realized that Brookey’s bark sounded muffled, and as though it were coming from under Andrea’s office. After further contemplation I realized it wasn’t coming from the driveway or garden. I went back outside and made my way to the corner of the house where Andrea’s office is. I saw an open door and realized that there was a shed built into the house below the office. When I slowly peaked my head around the open door I saw Brookey snuffling her nose around a lawnmower. When she noticed me she picked up her head, she looked at me and then pointed her nose back to the mower, and she let out some more loud barks. “Oh shush” I told her. She looked at me, expectantly, and then back at the mower. I realized she was trying to tell me to move it. “Oh fine” I said keeping to my duo-syllablye sentences. I moved the machine a bit and then her nose went crazy snuffling. The scary zombie trespasser I had been imagining turned out to be just a squirrel. It was getting colder outside. I told Brookey to leave it and she reluctantly followed me, exiting the shed. I closed the door and Stiches escorted Brookey and I back into the house.

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There are awesome lizards everywhere right now.

That was as eventful as things got yesterday evening, except when I broke a serving dish. It had been weeks since my last relapse into breaking dishes so it was only to be expected, especially when surrounded by five, strong, capable women. If I were a betting woman I actually would have put money on the eventuality. Unfortunately I didn’t, and unfortunately I did break a dish, but other than that the evening was amazing and relaxing. It was a beautiful feeling to sink into the cozy atmosphere that these women inhabited. They had all been friends for years and so it could have been easy for me to have felt like the odd woman out. They wouldn’t have allowed it though. Andrea had left about an hour before the women started to arrive (leaving me to handle the case of the elusory zombie fog squirrel by myself, in an empty house) to go pick up the van from the shop. It would turn out that when she got there it was still up on the lift waiting on parts, and so that is why I was left on my lonesome for so long, even with the impending promise of guests.

The women arrived one by  one. And one by one they each gave me a hug or another show of warmth while delivering kind words and generous compliments about my percieved accomplishments. At first it was slightly intimidating, but I started right in on wine and that helped my humble innabilty to take a compliment turn into the ‘thank you’s’ that were actually appropriate for the situation.

The conversations were fun and lighthearted while also maintaining a, some what furcated, tone of seriousness that brought with it all the wisdom. The women knew how to talk. The easiness of the interaction made me soak up so much more than I realized. And though we all knew and acknowledged I was young none of the girls let it affect the way they included me. Well, except for the few times when they were to shy to let a dirty joke slip out, and the apologies of inappropriate language before every utterance of a curse word. They should have just asked my motorcycle buds, I have the filthiest mouth around, something devoloped from a life full of crud being soaked in through my ears. Regardless, it was neat to see that these women — proper as they might seem — were not foreigners to ‘impropriety,’ but that they also respected their status as wiser, older, women enough to impart proper, societal, manners in front of a young woman.

Fuck yes.

What I really mean to say, is yesterday was a blast. Dirty, grubby jeans, and all.

Today was the same, but as I said at the beginning of this written promulgation, it was hours and hours of uncertainty before I could finally say that with such assurance. Today started with me waking up, rolling over, and opening my stubborn eyelids, but let us fast forward a bit. I had breakfast while checking my emails, and as I finished all that Andrea told me the truck was all mine if I wanted to go fetch my boots. My excitement became a hum similar to that of the hummingbirds at the feeder, only twenty feet away.

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Don’t you love the way I introduced that picture, and integrated it right in? Not even a break in the story.

I slipped on my converse and I grabbed a handful of citrus in the form of three tangerines. Soon ithey wouldn’t be my only choice of footwear. I tried to slow my hustle as I nearly skipped towards the truck. Once in the truck my hustle was relaxed slightly by the old engine of the vehicle which wasn’t really feeling up to humming no matter what the birds around it were doing.

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(I did it again.)

That’s okay. A slow drive in the sunshine was perfect for some self reflection, something I managed to fit in amongst the images of dancing boots and the one twenty dollar bill I was planning on parting with. I arrived at the cobblers in high spirits and I left with even higher. In my hand I held my freshly fixed boot. Boots that had been given more than twenty dollars worth of care. The ripped straps had been patched. The scuffed heel had been  smoothed. The heel had been reattached and the hole had  been filled. Besides that, the boots had been oiled and the inner cushions had been reglued in the right positions, something that had been in need of being done for months because my way of walking had pushed them into different spots than where they were meant to be. If I had more to offer him I would of, but twenty dollars seemed like a love kiss from the Universe, so I took it. I promised to give him great reviews online, and that is a promise I will keep. Let me immortalize the words on this blog as well: if you are in SoCal and you need some leather work done, or shoe fixing to be completed, take them to Tom at One Day Shoe Repair. He literally saved my life.

Well, maybe not. But he did save my boots. Take a look.

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After I got these boots back to Andrea’s and got pictures of them, I showed them off, and I got over my nerves. I put the clean suckers on. They felt as great as they looked. I picked up the discarded and lonesome motorcycle helmet which was beginning to collect dust. I shook out the moth filled motorcyle jacket and admired the unscathed surface of the armor that had saved me. I considered what battle would be the one to finally dent it for the first time. Slow motion took hold as a an epic soundtrack faded in to the scene as I picked one shiny boot clad foot up off the ground and slowly pointed it in direction of Little Wing. One oiled boot in front of the other, the well versed sound of a heel making contact with the pavement echoed as I contemplated the first ride in a week and a half. The self doubt clattered amongst the click clack of my boots.  What if I had forgot how to ride? What if I forgot how to fix a motorcycle? What if I went down again and had to start all over? What if I hadn’t actually done everything and what if it all fell to pieces as I went up the hill? The thoughts filled my helmet as I put it on  my head. It tinged my fingers as I put on my gloves. The questions scaled an attack on my confidence up until I turned the key and started the engine. The familar sound of my steed comforted my remonstrations, and I felt my mind clear. I felt the calm sensation of confidence that the quiet sound of my Japanese one cylinder brings out in me, and then I went for my test ride.

Now I’m not going to try and fool you into thinking it was magnificent success, mainly because I’m tired and I am looking to finish this up. Another great reason for not doing so is because it was not. I got to the end of Andrea’s road, about a half mile down, and met the stop sign. I used that opportunity to do the very first test of my back brakes which were unresponsive. A thorough examination before heading back to Andrea’s was inconclusive.

I parked Little Wing. I went into the house and I read through the manuals. I reserched online, it was all inconclusive. I went back out to Little Wing and did a full tear down  of the brake pedal assembly. I put it back four different ways and was chagrined to find out that it went back together the same way I had taken it apart in the first place. I got back on Little Wing, started the engine, felt the calm wash over me, and went for a test ride. The brakes worked. They worked by pushing really far down on the pedal, about double the amount I had to push before the accident, but they worked. Now I just had to figure out why they were so sub par and sketchy.

I went back to the garage. I parked Little Wing, and I called my bike fixing buddy, Dan. We spoke on the phone for about an hour. It turns out my issue of the rear brakes wasn’t in the front assembly where I was using my foot, it was in the back, on the rear wheel. It wasn’t the drum brakes, I knew that. It turned out to be the brake arm where the cable attached. I had taken the brake arm off and I had put it back in the wrong position. After fixing this problem the rest of the minor tune ups just seemed like minutia, but valuable none the less.

Little Wing worked. Little Wing works.

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After I finished my mechanics for the day, I hung up the helmet, kicked off the boots. I slipped my feet into my converse and I made my way back out to the garage to bask in the last rays of sunlight, even if it was from under the cover of the shelter. I picked up a paintbrush, I picked up the sign, and I painted. I thought about Little Wing working, as properly fixed boots danced through my head.

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Now tell me, what makes a day more complete then succesful mechaniching and a paint brush full of paint? Tell me, seriously.

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Maybe the humming of small birds in a place akin to paradise. (See how I snuck that in again.)

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