January 20, 2008

It's been a chilly week on the Island, our Hometown set here on the edge of the San Francisco Bay. The weather has been clear and sunny and cold in the day, with rather chilly nights and people reporting creeping fogs along the coast. Although it has been sunny inland, the persistent chill has fooled a lot of folks who hail from the East, who just cannot seem to get warm in times like this.

The reports from Minnesota are of frozen lakes and 20 below temps that freeze the nose hairs -- a most memorable experience -- and of course we have none of that here, for even the Sierra seldom drops below 15 degrees above.

We can only wonder in these times how our favorite strippers in Minot, ND manage to keep warm in such conditions, for the profession is not known for favoring sensible woolens while on the clock.

School is back in session, so keep alert out there on the road. Those teens from Washington High are strolling back and forth across the lanes like they believe they will live forever.

Just have one colonoscopy, and you will wish for a shorter term, dude.

Last sunny Saturday Lynette and Susan were out in front, performing periodic adjustments and Basic Maintenance on the bicycles when Mario came trundling by with his scooter pushed in front of him, a weary expression on his physiognomy.

Mario stood looking at Lynette and Susan, busy with tools and oils and sprays, one finger up his left nostril to the second joint with a meditative look.

Whats up, dude?, said Lynette, always the outgoing one.

To Susan's great relief, Mario removed his finger. Mah scooter wont poot. He held it up, his back bowing backwards dangerously with the effort, as if to demonstrate the scooter's inefficacy.

Lynette went over and had a look. A stream of black oil dripped out of the exhaust. Lynette worked as a mechanic for Charley's Garage in Berkeley, a woman-owned and operated outfit and she knew a few things about machines.

All right, said Susan. Since you are out to fix the world again, I am going to fix some lemonade. She kissed Lynette before going inside.

She kissed you, said Mario. Lynette was methodically following the possible path of the oil. She got a plug wrench and removed the spark plug.

That's right, said Lynette. And? The plug contacts were all fouled.

Aren't you, like . . . I dunno . . .

I'm not afraid of getting cooties if that's what you mean, said Lynette. She sprayed and cleaned the plug, then removed the exhaust and sluiced some kind of liquid through the entire pipe into a bucket. She loves me and I love her and that's all it means.

Mah daddy says that aint no good. We used to go to the Church of Reverend Rectumrod. He said all the catamites are goin' to hell and stuff. Its a weird church everybody's always going to hell all the time, and we be going to Reverend Nyquist since Rectumrod gone to Georgia for a while. The people at Rectumrod's don't hardly talk to each other and its different over at the Lutherans. It don't seem people go to hell so much over there. And they gots apple cider.

What's a catamite, asked Lynette. Come to think of it, what is a Lutheran?

Susan interrupted this theological discussion when she came out with tall glasses of lemonade, clinking with ice and beaded with dew. She kissed Lynette again. Pointedly, it seemed this time.

The lemonade was good. Mario downed half of his quickly.

Lynette started the engine of the little scooter, then shut it off quickly.

Hey! Said Mario. You fixed it!

There's a couple more things to make right here and then you can go, said Lynette. How's the lemonade?

Its really good. Its better than mom's even. She uses the mix from Safeway. You guys are okay, said Mario. You fixed my scooter.

Fixing the world, one scooter at a time, said Susan. Its the people that are the problem. Mostly the men . . . .

Now, you and your Separatist friends need to get a grip, said Lynette.

Says who, Susan said. You had brothers.

I did. And don't regret it, for it helped give me understanding. Here, young man. Go forth with your newfound knowledge and sin no more.

Thanks, said Mario. I'll remember you! And off he went, puttering down the street.

Susan picked up the glass abandoned by Mario. Always cleaning up after them . . . .

Well we need to clean the heater intake while the weather is good, said Lynette, collecting the various scattered tools out front into a canvas bag.

All right, its a maintenance weekend. Maybe tomorrow we can go to Momma's Royal Cafe for breakfast?

Done deal.

They went in.

Just another incidence of neighbors being neighborly on the Island. Because that is just the way it is here.