Being behind in my domestic production, I just kept the grind on after I left the jobsite. I got a run in, made a trip to Wegman's, and hustled home to cook up the chicken I had in the refrigerator so lunch would be ready to go tomorrow. On my way out of Wegman's I dropped a text, "Hey. Stop over. I have beer and food," of which I had little hope of being answered. But Jenny responded she was on her way.
Walking my groceries up the front porch I felt excited with a sensed "I just want someone to talk to," a phrase I've been carrying around for a few days, one I've heard a million times, but here for whatever reason this single repeat struck a chord, something reverberated, and the cliché of its use melted into the liquid of my body with a real sense to it - this way one grasps, adheres to, or gains traction to the real of the world.
This adhesion had everything to do with my kitchen. [Next text sent to Jenny: "My house is a mess, Sorry."] I haven't cleaned in my kitchen, bathroom, or really done anything other than laundry and a minimum of dishes in two months. Yet as the prospect of Jenny coming over developed, I recognized - looking at the single chair I keep in my kitchen - if someone would just sit there for an hour and talk to me every once in a while, my kitchen would be clean all the time.
As I waited, a couple pots and pans were cleaned. The layers were scraped off the cutting board. I opened a beer. There were a few text message conversations going on that I imagine to be with other empty kitchens. Jenny arrived. I finished my chicken preparation and we then headed out to the porch making it in time to watch a quick rain fall from the clouds.
Unfortunately we couldn't really talk. The house across the street is inhabited by a violent pack of off road dirt bike riders. Amazingly this fashion has made its way into my West Side neighborhood for the summer. I hope it is short lived. And, the violence is really only the noise of the bikes. The young adults hug each other and post videos of their wheelies and burnouts to YouTube and Facebook while they test out their bikes up and down the road. After one or two lengths of the block they race back up the driveway to their garage where they tinker with the carburetor or something for a couple minutes and then race back out for a couple more passes by my front porch. At one point a kid spilled his bike falling to the street. My hands were glued over my face for three minutes. There were laughs and more hugs.
Jenny said to me, "I don't even understand what they're doing." I speculated, "Well, I think this is the 2016 expression of "the motor-head" or "grease-monkey" - they all get together and tinker about, not their hot rods but the dirt bikes." Jenny scanned me with her eyes in disbelief, seeing my running shorts that hardly cover my hips, and says "How would you know anything about that world."
"Well. Back in the day, out in the town, it wasn't dirt bikes but dump trucks, bull dozers, and excavators. Everyone around me was in the business, but all small and you had to do your own repair and maintenance work to whatever equipment you ran. So, at night, Kenny would be replacing the king pins in his Ford, or the Donnor's would be replacing an oil seal, or Eddie would be welding some body repairs - and you grabbed a six pack of beer and stopped over to who's ever shop was lit up. And if I was working, everyone would gather at mine. Its how we spent the nights because the work always needed to get done, and I think to keep pushing through, working all night, you just needed people to show up, people to talk to."
Landscape designer and Proprietor of Buffalo Horticulture