08 August 2006

The Last Day is just the Beginning (part 2)

Part 1

(More background available here: Trip Prep; The Screws of The Man: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

stuffThe temporary No Parking signs worked their mojo, so I had a half a block all to myself the day I was leaving San Francisco. The gutters by the curb were filled with refuse since no one ever moved their cars on street cleaning days. A partially eaten plum spattered with mold continued to rot next to my tire. I dropped a plastic bag next to it while I was loading my car and got thoroughly grossed out. I tossed the contents into another grocery bag before shoving it behind the passenger seat in my car.

Mrs. G came up behind me and said, "Hello."

"Hey."

She continued talking, but I couldn't make it out, so I said, "Excuse me?" while trying to decipher her thick accent. After a couple of tries, I realized I was never going to understand the words because they were in Chinese. She gestured to the studio. I followed her in and started guessing: "Elroy's going to take care of the rent." "Is the radio too loud?" "Do you want me to turn it off?" The queries were only to myself really because she was still talking and gesturing at stuff in the studio.

Her English was more limited than I'd ever supposed. Her vocabulary might well be summed up with "hello," "rent," and possibly "late," but now that I think about it, she usually conveyed "late" by holding up fingers to indicate how many days the rent was past due. In those cases I always already knew what she wanted, so it wasn't a problem.

She grabbed my arm and pulled me into the back alley, pointing to the long pieces of wood propped in a corner and a sink that had been too heavy to move when I'd taken over 700 pounds of junk and trash from the studio to the dump. I got it. I nodded and said, "I'll make sure Elroy knows everything has to go when he leaves."

As we walked back into the studio, I stressed, "Not all of it today." She pointed at the stove, the kitchen sink, the refrigerator, and then the bathtub/shower rig in the next room. "Ok," I nodded, "but not today."

She smiled and nodded and gave me a gentle squeeze on my upper arm as a goodbye.

I finished packing my car, locked the studio, tossed my key through the mail slot, and started driving...

(Join me on the road.)

One year ago at TTaT: tip of the week- tennis anyone?, Assorted
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