Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Daughter Of My Dog.




In the dead of night I can hear my little black and white hunter slip out into the darkness in which she lives. The moon isn’t right for the other two to want to seek out that which only they can sense so I know this is a personal preference for her. Lilith is patrolling. She’s out on the perimeter confronting whatever it is that is out there and she’s doing it alone. Lucas lifts his head, considers the effort, and then puts his head down again. She’ll bark if she needs me, Lucas thinks, and it says a lot about how confident he is that Lilith can handle herself out there.

Bert did this, too. He was a rambling border patrol mutt who liked going out on his own to make sure the night knew we were still paying attention. When the weather was cool enough sometimes I would go with him or wait until he was gone then wait on the end of the trail for him to come back. Sometimes I would just sit on the deck, in the cold, and wait. Towards the end, Bert moved as slowly as a shadow, much more out of old age than stealth. But the moonlit branches of the trees made spotting him nearly impossible and his footfall was invisible to the ear as his coat was to the eye. I always marveled at how Bert blended into the woods when he was hunting or playing. He was a deer colored dog; tawny red and cream blended into a dog jacket. The cold weather was his favorite time to be out on the border. I would wait for him and never hear where he was.

At long last Bert would appear from the trail, walking slowly, but convinced the fenceline was secure. Always, he would walk over to the water bucket and sometimes I would go out into the yard to greet him. If the wind was blowing in the right direction he would know I was there, and I would know when he sensed me because his tail would start wagging. Sometimes he would be right up on me before he realized I was near and we both liked the idea of me surprising him. “Oh hi!” and I would pet his ears. He would walk on ahead of me, getting to the door first always, but that trot became a slow walk towards the end and the missions were always longer. Yet he kept it up. Bert went out at night and he walked the line. It was never a question of whether or not he was physically capable of doing the job the only question was going I open the door and let him out. If I left the door open he was going to go out there. One night he went out during a storm and I think he did it just to prove he could.

Lilith is a little more dainty than that. The first hint of rain or thunder and she’s in the bedroom looking up at the bed or in the living room wanting to get up on the sofa with me. Lilith doesn’t really like the cold as much as Bert but she’ll get out in it when she has to do so. The night is still her time, but under the right conditions, and like Bert it’s a display of force, a promise of violence, and a reminder of a border. The canids are like that, you know. Some of them a lot more than others but all of them have a wolf inside.
Lilith did not like or appreciate the Puppy Wrex and told him so. She told me so. She didn’t like Lucas playing with the new puppy and even though she was warming up to him rather slowly I think she’s happy to see him gone. This has been an interesting experiment in who I am going to have problems with in the future when it comes to foster. While not openly hostile towards Wrex, Lilith never really showed much interest in another dog in the family. When Sam goes I’ll get another dog but how will Lilith react to that?

I think there are a lot of people out there in the dog-less world who have a misperception as to what dogs can and cannot do, or will and will not do. Dogs are powerful creatures armed with a mouthful of teeth and those who are large can do much damage. You’re more likely to get hit by lightning than killed by a dog, but the idea that human beings can treat dogs with cruelty and meanness and not pay a price is just plain stupid. Dogs are fast, strong, and focused carnivores who, lacking training or a sense of family, are going to react to being threatened the same way a wolf might. This bodes ill for hairless apes whose opposable thumbs aren’t gripping a weapon or for those not using their brain, or their heart. My first foster was an experiment on how well I knew my own pack and what I didn’t know.


But mostly what we get from dogs is what we put into them. Little Lilith, my Pibble Princess, will sleep on her back with her legs in the air, her head back and totally at ease. Sometime during the night she will wake up and if the door is open she’ll slip out of the back door on her own. Alone and in the dark, Lilith will explore the boundaries that the fenceline describes to her as her home and the home of her family.  Her nose will interesting smells and her feet will carry her unerringly to the Big Oak and then down trail I’ve mowed. Lilith will move east towards the pond and maybe stop to consider the world at the point furthest from the house. The owls and nightbirds have long since ceased to be a problem for her. The foxes and bobcats likely fear her now. The lone coyote might consider her but no, she’s a low slung big headed, Pibble Princess and she is not on anyone’s menu.

The circuit complete, Lilith will head back in, pausing to drink from the same bucket Bert did so many years ago. Back onto the deck, across to the doggie door leading inside, and Lilith now searches for the bed, and the company of those she loves.

Take Care,

Mike

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I Have a Laptop but can't use my Lap!





It’s going to take some getting used to, writing on a laptop, that is. The machine isn’t a real laptop but rather the case of one, the screen of another and the enternals put together with having a cheap and reliable computer so I can write when I am not at home. It case you missed it I have the world worst handwriting and it has never gotten any better.  I looked at a few dozen laptops and noticed one thing they all have in common; inconsistent reviews. And to get what I wanted would have taken more money than I wanted to spend on what is basically a writing tablet with a keyboard.

I’ve been writing lately while drinking coffee in a place that sells coffee, not to give a chain store a free plug. I like the atmosphere of writing in that place. The smell of coffee is incredible and there are always people who look interesting walking in. Women with tattoos go there and I always wonder what the ink means to those wearing it. You might look at the leg of a woman and that leg be covered entirely with tattoos and you might think, “It’s just a bunch of stuff that doesn’t mean anything” but what if each and every image is intensely personal? It’s not only beauty and art melded onto one of nature’s greatest wonders, the female human body, but those images might tell a story only she can translate for you. If you approach her in the right frame of mind she might tell you. But remember she might not like you asking. Showing doesn’t mean she’s obligated to tell.

I’ve had people stop and ask me what I was writing and it depends a lot on how they approached me and their body language. I have some Chow Dog in me because I just don’t like people getting all up and close to me without me knowing ahead of time, a couple of days’ notice is fine, and talking to me. Don’t assume I’m going to read to you or a tattooed woman is going to show you her life’s story. She doesn’t have to wear a burka to get some personal space and I don’t have to share my writing with you simply because I’m in public.

There have been times I’ve played Sudoku on my phone and really wished I had a laptop so I could write. Maybe it would only be enough to get a few hundred words down but that would be writing I could build on later or maybe it was a moment that felt different. It doesn’t really matter, you know. This is a device that will facilitate writing and therefore it is good. The downside to having a new machine is now I am going to have to retrain spell check out of its third grade vocabulary.

Honestly, if you can write a couple of paragraphs and suddenly realize you’re using words that Microsoft Word hasn’t seen fit to include into its lexicon this bodes ill for writing a novel with the same software, I evince. Back when I was working with Word Perfect the program would let you see the words you had added. I’m still trying to figure out how to do that with Word.

Generally speaking, I think the art of using new words in conversation is pretty much dead. Using words I commonly use when I write is pretty much out of the question when I’m engaged in public conversation. I can tell you that hyperbole is my forte but telling that to someone who hasn’t picked up a book since Cindy Crawford posed nude is going to be futile. Worse still, my penchant for using metaphors and similes go over very well in writing but some of them go over like a helium filled brick when they’re tossed into a conversation. If the people who put writing software together were really aiming at writers they would include the etymology of a word whenever offering a suggestion as a replacement. They offered entomology for my poor spelling of etymology and that bugs me too.
Back when I first settled down in front of a keyboard I never dreamed of a day like this. The process of writing is now incredible easy and editing is not nearly the task it once was. Writing is still hard as hell but just knowing that fifteen acres of rain forest won’t be sacrifice for a failed chapter one, part fifty-seven, is a benison. In this medium printing isn’t require all the time and sometimes it’s just plain superfluous. The craft of writing, nearly as much as photography, has benefited greatly from the digital age. Maybe even more so.

There was a time a person had to be good, really good, and have a decent camera to produce good photos. No anyone who knows anything about photoshop can turn an average photo into a shot of a  Sasquatch presiding over the funeral of Elvis with Miley Cyrus swinging on a hammer in the background while displaying her new ten commandments tattoo( five on each  inner thigh, regrettably) . But a writer still has to write. There isn’t a program that can replace the mind with text. Even cut and paste has some limitations as it’s impossible to plagiarize without getting caught if your professor has the right software.

I am uncertain where having a laptop will lead me. I like the idea of being able to write on the sofa, the bed, in the truck, on the deck in nice weather, and maybe even the woods. That’s going to be different. I think I’ll get a beanbag chair and write in the woods when the weather cools off. The dogs should like this new environmental change. I think I will too. You readers out there will have to let me  know if you think I’m writing any better or worse or if you think it’s all about the same, anyway.

Take Care,
Mike











Monday, August 18, 2014

My Day As A Woman



So in case you missed what that shrill whistling type gasp and moaning was early Sunday morning, Lucas, well over one hundred pounds of Lucas, at a dead run, launched himself off of my bed by planting one of his back paws dead center of my crotch and then springing.  I was just lying there reading so I was totally nude and unprotected. One of the nails on the paw of the Loki Mutt dug into my privates and left considerable damage and I’m pretty sure there is permanent hearing loss. For just an instant I gulped enough air to cause a slight vacuum in the time space continuum. I think I saw a unicorn.  

There’s a lot of stuff located in that region of the body. There are a lot of nerve receptors whose job is to herald in great tidings of joy, ecstasy, and heaven felt goodness. Their job is to make sure that no matter how terrible the sound of a crying baby might actually be, the pleasure of sex can and will outweigh the memory of a two year old driving all the other patrons at Red Lobster  to pick up your tab just to get you the hell out of the place before someone put your kid in the tank with the live crustaceans. A loud kid is like having all the nails ever done by Asian women wearing  masks being drawn over all the chalkboards ever drawn on by third grade teachers whose cats would be the only living creatures ever to sleep in their beds. If sex was not as great as it was the human species would have died out right after the first kid began to wail inside a cave. The nerve endings there are what keeps us all alive and happy and not even evolution can stop the quest for orgasms.


I lay wheezing for breath. I knew it was bad. I had been reading a book on the Battle for Guadalcanal and suddenly I felt like that guy,  from “Band of Brothers”, who after being hit in an explosion  has his friend rip his pants open to see if he’s all there. It’s one of those common fears of men in war zones and men who have large dogs with claws. You’d think that Lucas would know better by now, or I would know better by now, but that has nothing to do with me open mouth gasping like a fish while trying not to cry in front of a book about World War Two. How unmanly would that be?

But it is equally unmanly to draw your hand away from your, uh, manly area, and there to be fresh blood there. I knew I would have to look and see how bad it was but there was a full minute where I was hoping something else might happen. Maybe the world would end and save me the discomfort. I checked for blood again and there was more blood. Oh, shit! What if it’s serious? I had to look.

whoa

Okay, because I was reading, “Starvation Island” which has nothing to do with a 747 full of cheerleaders on Spring Break crashing landing on a remote island with only myself and fifty cases of tequila, my , uh, well, everything was stashed away in an accordion sort of way. Lucas’ nail caused a three inch gash running vertical near the bottom of the, uh, main attraction, that was deeper, not so deep, deeper, not so deep, deeper, not so deep until the wound hit  the, uh,… boys’ room …where the wound was deepest. At least it was bleeding which with a wound made by any animal, it’s important to get cleaned up quickly.

Now how to cleanse the wound came down to a do what you have to do and get over it. Usually a man cleaning that part of his body for that long hasn’t been reading nonfiction but I had to know the real damage. Soap hurt. Hot water hurt. Hydrogen peroxide hurt. And worst of all, I kept having this vision that at that very moment, some women I knew was going to show up and say, “You know, I’ve never said anything about before, but I’d like to come in and just let you take my clothes off and see what  happens.”

Can you imagine the amount of self-deception that it takes to have that fear at that moment? Oh, yeah, you’re bleeding like a stuck pig on a Sunday morning and you have no idea how bad it might be, so the first thing you need to worry about is whether or not this is going to cause you some sort of problem when a random sex partner appears without warning!

I love being a guy. I mean, a woman would have never, in a million years, had that cross her mind with that sort of injury. But a man?  Oh damn, I’ve been mauled by a bear, I hope Angelina Jolie doesn’t run out of gas and walk up to my door right now. Men will keep this species going, ladies, as long as at least one of you is too drunk to laugh at us and who forgot to take her pill this morning.  

So the rest of the day I read and I bled. I lay on the bed with a towel under me and a washcloth on the afflicted area and I kept things clean and open and threw harsh words at a certain dog who wanted to get up on the bed again.

Last night it was hard to get comfortable and I despaired that I was leaving spots of blood on the sheets, which I knew I would. That’s when it hit me; this is exactly what women go through once a month. Ouch and damn. So there I was, having this thought and I realized that me leaking blood from a place I rather not was something every thirteen year old girl had already considered.

The next morning I found myself deeper into the neighborhood of womanhood. I was still bleeding. How in the hell can I still be bleeding? I took a shower and cleaned the wound off and it started bleeding anew. Maybe I should go get stiches.  Or a pad.


So during the day I would have a meeting and I had an appointment with the dentist. I was going to wear my kakis but they’re light colored and I thought maybe I needed something darker. Do women dress for blood? It occurred to me that every tampon commercial I had ever seen was filled with women wearing skin tight white yoga pants doing gymnastics while riding rodeo horses during earthquakes. Oh my dog I bet they do have to dress with blood considerations. It was sobering.

First, I never wear underwear unless I’m running or working out. I don’t like to have the boys bouncing around too much when I’m exercising but I want everyone to hang loose otherwise.  It occurred to me that women who really need sports bras can relate to this. But underwear seemed like a good idea. I took a bandana and folded it up and stuffed it inside just in case then looked at myself in the mirror. Shit. It looks like I’m a porn star. Hey, wait, no, try toilet paper. That worked. Women have to go through this once a month, you know, trying to get ready for work while trying not to bleed all over everything.

It was even worse when I got to work because I was walking funny. I realized that I had to pee and knew that would be getting everything out of position then back into position.  I checked for blood and there were still a few spots on my clothes but the rest was a small mess. Gross! This is…what women go through.

I fought off the urge to reposition everything and pull and tug all day long. I felt invaded and the pain came and went in waves. There were certain positions I did not put my legs. I found myself snapping at people and I also fought off the urge to see if I was leaking and people could see.

It’s like this, isn’t it?

I survived the day, the dentist, and when I got home, took a shower and checked the damage. The wound still looks raw but it isn’t bleeding anymore. It’s still oozing clear liquid but the area around the wound isn’t red and puffy. There is no swelling, thank dog, around the afflicted area and I don’t think there will be for a while. All in all, it looks like the worst is over but I’ve developed a newfound respect for blood management.

I truly apologize for all those bloody end of the month jokes I’ve made. Next time I get the urge to make one I’ll just plug it.

Take Care,

Mike

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Pond Of Stars



There is something to be said for silence. There are times when even nature is still in the night and the sounds of this world all become muted. There are no frogs and no birds, no crickets singing, no lonely cry of the coyote or the hoot of the owl. The sound of the falling stars is the only audible presence and those simply because they can draw a quick breath from us as we lay under the sky, waiting. Why she chose this place for this time was not for me to question but for me to act upon. It was no harsh demand or outlandish whim but a simple idea to clear enough of the bank of the pond so that a blanket might fit and two people might look up at the sky at night. Time changes when creatures so small look up at the vastness above. The sheer weight of the Universe passing overhead is enough to stifle such a silly thing as human speech. What is there to be said? Everything that is everything floats above us and the magnitude stills the need for chatter or idle thought. There might be billions or billions of billions of creatures, great and small, living out their lives before us, most of whom must have died millions of years ago, and the light from their suns have only now completed the journey to a small speck circling a tiny yellow sun.  No, it is too awesome of a sight to waste on words. We hold hands and our hearts can be heard as the eastern sky surrenders its darkness and mist begins to form on the surface of the pond. A large bird passes directly over us, so close we can hear its feathers scooping out flight from the sky, and both of us will remember that moment forever. It is a bonding moment; a moment of togetherness than no other person will ever be able to experience. In a million years, or a million million years, the wan light of our sun will reach some distant planet and carry with it the reflection of this moment. There are billions of these moments in every night’s sky and wordlessly we are awash in the same thoughts. We are a part of all of this. We are made of this stuff. This is who we are.  Tiny specks on a tiny speck swirling around the Universe we hold onto one another to keep from being flung out into the darkness to become starts. Our breathing seems ethereal and nearly spiritual. There is nothing and there is everything. In the distance we can hear the noise of a truck on the highway and we both realize that the night, endless and magnificent and infinite beyond the thoughts of humans, is slipping away as surely as the light of a falling star.

The ice in the cooler shifts and makes a noise much louder than either of us was expecting and we both jump slightly. So soundless is the night that even this is garish. Sam shakes himself off, struggles to his feet, and woofs at us from the other side of the fence. It’s an act of democracy, this low throaty bark is. Sam isn’t sure what to make of what he heard so he woofs just loud enough to say he barked.  Lilith and Lucas are in the woods nearby but neither seconds the motion, neither cares to join in, and the motion fails. Sam rattles his ears and plops back down and snorts. I can feel her grinning at Sam’s display of predawn territoriality. She turns over on her side now, facing me, and I ease towards her very slowly. The August night air is sticky and moist with humidity and our clothes, a necessary evil against mosquitoes, seem itchy and cumbersome now.

I can feel her breath, taste it so close to my own, I can feel her body heat, I can smell her hair and sense every beat of her heart inside of her body. The blood in her veins rushes underneath her skin and there is a joining of streams and rivers and waterfalls and oceans between us. My hand on her back, guiding her gently towards me, is the pull of gravity incarnate. The kiss is slow, gentle, and promising but I can feel a slight resistance, as if there is a feather in my hand, being blown by the slightest of breezes. If close my hand I crush the feather so I must leave my palm outstretched, but I also much make sure feather isn’t wafted away.

This one is like a tiny flame before dawn, a woman who even after a decade, does not say yes in a moment or sometimes even in many moments and sometimes not at all. Like the tip of a burning match being set to tinder in the dark, if the wind is too great, just might snuff out entirely any heat, if rushed or pushed too soon. Small flames devour fuel very slowly and more than once I have seen the edge of a leaf burn down to a little yellow flame, seemingly without any chance of real heat or life. Yet where there is heat there is life, and a small gentle kiss becomes prolonged and the bodies pressed together more closely, and the leaf flares up to ignite those around it.

“Not here” she whispers to me but she doesn’t pull away. This is her time to smolder; the building of a heat invisible except perhaps some small curling wisp of smoke. Not here doesn’t mean no but it isn’t an invitation yet, either. She leans into me, letting my body support hers, and I can feel her shifting her weight, pressing against me more tightly.  The fire builds now, evident with a bright flame yet still small enough to die in a sudden gust of wind. She moves as if she can’t get comfortable and I know it’s a matter of time before she suggests a change of venue. But it will take that time. This is a woman who, after a decade, still wraps up in a sheet before she leaves the bed so she will not walk nude in front of me. Only when the fire is raging, only when the wind whips the flames into a conflagration that will consume all fuel and all emotion will she release herself to it. There is no dawn, no stars above, no sound, no stillness, and there is nothing but the fire and the heat and suddenly she pushes away and grabs the cooler, “Let’s go!”

There is the walk to the house, the blanket wrapped around us both even though it is far too warm, there is the sound of melting ice in the cooler, as if we’re affecting its lifespan by our nearness. There are the steps to the front door, three of them, and at the top she stops, turns to me, and is still shorter than I but delightfully taller as I stand on a lower step. There is a sound, the sound, of a truck on the highway, loud and rude, and then she is gone. 

Take Care,

Mike

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Virginia Woolfe at The Train Station














I am still offered an  unexpected pleasure...



Perhaps you could tell me exactly what you think you are doing?



What I was doing? - I went to look for you and you weren't there.



You were working in the garden, I didn't wish to disturb you.



You disturb me when you disappear!



I didn't disappear.



I went for a walk. - A walk?



Is that all? Just a walk...



Virginia, we must go home now, Nelly is cooking dinner...



She's already had a difficult day. It's just  our obligation to eat Nelly's dinner.





There's no such obligation.



No such obligation exists!



Virginia, you have an obligation to your sanity. -I've endured this custody!



Endured this imprisonment. -Oh, Virginia!



I am attended by doctors.



Everywhere I'm attended by doctors  who inform me of my own interests!



They know your interests. - They do not!



They do not speak for my interests. - Virginia, I can...



I can see that it must be hard  for a woman of your...



Of what? Of my what exactly? - Of your talent



to see that she must not be  the best judge of her own condition!



Who then is a better judge?



You have a history.



You have a history of confinement. We brought you to Richmond because you may have



fits, moods, blackouts, hearing voices...



We brought you here to save you from the  inevitable damage you intended upon yourself!



You tried to kill yourself twice.





I live daily with that threat.



We set up...we set up  the printing press not just for...



itself...not just purely for itself



But so that you might have a ready  source of absorption and a remedy!



I need to work.



It was done for you!



It was done for your betterment!



It was done out of love!



If I didn't know you better  I would call this ingratitude!



Am I ungrateful?



You call me ungrateful!



My life has been stolen from me.



I am living in a town I have  no wish to live in. I am living...



a life I have no wish to live.



How did this happen?



It is time for us to  move back to London.



I miss London.





I miss London life.



This is not you speaking, Virginia.



This is an aspect of your illness... It's me, it is my voice!



Not you... -It's mine, mine only...



It's a voice you hear. -It is not! It is mine.



I am dying in this town.



If you were thinking clearly, Virginia. you'd recall it was London that brought you low.



If I were thinking clearly?



If I were thinking clearly... -We brought you to Richmond to give you peace.



If I were thinking clearly, Leonard, I would tell you:



that I wrestle alone...



in the dark, in the deep  dark and that only I can know...



only I can understand  my own condition.



You live with the threat, you tell me. You live with the threat of my extinction.



Leonard, I live with it too.



This is my right.



It is the right of every human being.





I choose not the suffocating  anesthetic of these suburbs...



but the violent jolt of the capital, that is my choice!



The meanest patient, just even  the very lowest, is allowed some say



in the matter of her own prescription.



Thereby she defines her humanity.



I wish, for your sake, Leonard, that I were happy in this quietness



but if it is choice between Richmond and death...



I choose death.



Very well, London then.



We go back to London.



Are you hungry?



I'm a little hungry myself.



Come along.



You cannot find peace by avoiding life, Leonard.

A Hardware Savant, a Nine Year Old with a Tattoo, and a Question for Married Women, Oh, and a Working Lawn Mower, too.




Two weeks ago, had it been two weeks since I mowed the grass, the yard would have been distinctly bushy. Yet the fortnight that has passed since the Adventures With The Damaged Mower, saw very little rain. It really isn’t as bad as I thought it might be. But back to The Adventure; you might be surprised at how inept the people are when you go to one of those Giant Hardware Stores or you might not be. The idea of repairing a machine instead of buying a new one is alien and doesn’t address the bottom line as well. Worse, there is a new generation of people who never had to, was never in a position, where repair was a necessity, and they’ve always had the money to throw away and replace rather than fix what was broken.

The first Giant Hardware Store I went to was devoid of sentient life.  After asking three different people to speak with me about mowers, or parts for mowers, I wound up giving a small class on mower parts to an employee who took notes and was amazed at what the bottom part of a mower looked like. This is where the blade goes. This is the bolt that holds the blade in place. This part holds the blade onto the shaft, yes, it is a separate part, have you a wrench, I’ll show you. Wow, that is amazing, I’ve never see anything like it. Thank you. Thank you, very much. He took photos with his cell phone.

The Giant Hardware Store across from the Mall was little better. They had a goodly selection of mowers but the young man, who looked as if he might be a football player, had never actually seen a push mower operated in person. He explained that he was raised in an apartment, lived in an apartment, and really, he had never mowed grass in his entire life. He did, however, once use a weedeater and could recognize the brand if he saw it again. He was able to tell me he could find parts for any mower online. But I would have to order them through a third party for they did not order parts at the store itself.

Meanwhile, this random guy walks up and explains that the new electric mowers are iffy. I should wait until the next generation until I buy one. He goes down the line of equipment giving advice and opinion on everything. For a second I figure he’s off clock and does work here but when I asked he tells me, “No, but this electric mower won’t be any good until they get the bugs out” and then he’s off to the electric generator next to it. Amps, volts, how big the fuel tank is, and then the next one, in comparison…As I stand there he simply goes down the aisle, as if I am following along, and gives an opinion, out loud,  on each and every piece of equipment, a savant of the Giant Hardware Stores.   

I went to one of those Farm and Tractor stores that sell cowboy boots and fencing supplies as well as yard equipment. I think because they sell cowboy boots and cowboy hats the people who shop there feel a little bit more like farmers than they do at one of the Giant Hardware Stores. Get a couple of them together and they’ll start saying things like, “I was down there at the tractor place and picked me up some supplies” and this makes them all sound like they’re home on the range down at the subdivision.  This one was being manned by a nine year old girl who told me, among other things, she was a freshman in college and was going to attend her first class in September, she was saving her money for a car, but not a new one, a used one, she is getting a new lap top, an Apple because they rock, wants a new phone, three gee is so slow, she wants to live in a dorm room even though she is local, her boyfriend is a jerk and she isn’t speaking to him right now, she doesn’t care how many messages he sends to her, has a tattoo but can’t show it to me, and she knows nothing about lawn mowers except the one her daddy has goes really fast and it scares her but she thinks it’s fun. She daddy is the manager and he won’t be back until one. I take a long hard look at this person. She’s nine. Maybe ten, but that’s pushing it. So I ask her how old she is and she rolls her eyes at me, “I know, I know, but I’m eighteen.”  I look at her. She looks at me. “Uh…” I reply and there is no way in hell she’s an adult. She puts her hands on her hips and glares at me.  I want to ask for an ID.

Okay, as an aside, how young does a woman have to look before dating her is creepy? Granted, if she’s old enough to be in college she’s old enough to have a boyfriend, but does her boyfriend realize she looks nine? Sure, she’s adorable, but in a nine year old sort of way, a kitten sort of way, not a woman sort of way. I dated people her age, if she’s really eighteen, when I was half the age I am now but I do not remember any of them looking this damn young. There isn’t anything about her that seems the least bit mature or attractive or anything. I worry about a young man who would date a girl that looks like she isn’t old enough to be at Starbucks by herself. I’ve seen trees with more fully developed secondary sexual characteristics than this girl.

Quite by accident I stumble upon a family owned small engine repair shop. There’s a woman in there who is manning the place and she knows how to greet a customer and she nods when I tell her what happened. “If you can live with the bent shaft, yeah, it’s going to go on you eventually but less than twenty gets you the part to get running again.”  I’ll have to bring the part or the model number in but she has three or four on hand. She doesn’t miss a beat and she doesn’t waste any time. She also looks old enough to drink and looks like she does. That helps a lot right now. We talk for a while and just when I think things might be getting interesting she mentions her husband.

Truthfully, married women, do you talk to a guy for a while and when you think he might be edging towards something more personal do you then decide to make mention you’re married? I mean, do you do that sort of thing intentionally? I think there are some married women who want to know they can still get a man’s attention but they don’t really want it. It’s like putting a painting in a gallery just to see who wants it.
The next time I am in town I bring the part, it matches, and when I get home I’m up and running in just a few minutes. The blade seems to be spinning evenly enough. It’s cutting well. I push the thing around for two hours, get the front and the back mowed again, and nothing goes wrong. Yet the grass isn’t as high as I thought it would be. Yes, it hasn’t rained but there are places where the grass is always thick. This time around it seems like the grass is weak and nearly scraggly. Is it already that late in the season? One third of August is gone but there is a lot of it left to go. The heat recently has been unbearable. Surely Summer hasn’t already begun to slip away, has it?

The rain comes down in buckets right after I finish mowing. Maybe the grass will return but I realize that next week August will be half over. The week after that only one week will remain. I would suspect it would be the last week when I notice the grass isn’t growing as well, but not yet, not yet.
Surely, time hasn’t slipped by this fast this Summer, has it?

I wonder if the man who has the very young looking daughter has these thoughts when he sees her getting ready to go to college.
Take Care,

Mike