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A recent lunch in Oakland.

March 13th, 2003

Builds Up Steam
The book cases arrived yesterday. I wasn't expecting them for another week. The truck driver called me from his truck. The apartment manager wasn't there to open the door so he could dump them in the lobby, so I drove home. A nice guy to wait during his noon hour, my promise I'd be there "in ten minutes" was more like twenty, so I tipped him a bunch. The book cases, however, were fully assembled, braced with corrugated cardboard and plastic banding and they wouldn't fit in the elevator.

I thought, well, it's the cardboard and the styrofoam padding at the top and bottom, they add to the bulk. I'll get rid of it and they'll fit in the elevator. No such luck. Then a young guy who lives on the first floor pulled into the garage as I stood in the connecting lobby, the packing material having filled one of the building's recycling bins, white bits of styrofoam littering the rug. He looked things over and asked (without particularly thinking): "Need a hand?"

This is one of those existential moments when you learn what you're about. Carrying them up the stairs, three bulky book cases up the stairs, albeit one at a time, was going to be a bitch, and this guy (I didn't even know his name, although we'd gotten in the habit of nodding to one another as we passed on the stairs.) has made an offer way beyond any call to duty or manners, should I accept? I mean, should I take advantage - he, obviously suffering from a momentary loss of sanity through no fault of his own at this very (fortuitous for me) moment - of his kind offer?

"Yes", I said, not too quickly. So we did. Just like that. His name is James and I'll not forget.

At my appointment yesterday after work the doctor said the ear tests were negative. Nothing they can find, so: "It will get worse, or, it will stay the same, or, it will get better." OK. I can live with that, living being the operative statement.

The book cases, by the way, are sitting empty, but in place. The one I wanted to put in the bedroom won't fit through the connecting short hallway and doors, so one's sitting against the back wall in my computer area, another in the entrance hall (good, good) and the third against the wall that separates the living room from the kitchen, all reasonably unobtrusive. Emmy was not amused, of course, but radiated what I thought a low level tolerance as she hid under the bed while I moved them inside. Don't ask me how I could tell. Meow.

No, I did not order the studio lights, but I went through the catalogs for one last time and feel comfortable I know which lights I want to buy. That may not sound like much, but with the book shelves in place, with the floor lamps that I ordered now on the way, with the books off the floor (sometime this weekend), there's space for studio lights and the studio lights will therefor be coming. Not unlike an avalanche, the first purchase starts it moving slowly and then it builds up steam.

The photograph was taken at a recent lunch in Oakland.