Even though I was up the night before until almost 3am, I woke up at 9 this morning. I already knew I had to go to work, even though we are not open on Saturdays, because I said I would deliver this one man his Honda Accord
, since he has to pay for his own rental. I almost delivered him the wrong Accord on Friday, so I felt I owed it to him
. I've gone in on Saturdays
in the past to help my customers who simply can't wait until Monday. Having never been in a car wreck
and out of a car (or stuck in an unfamiliar rental) for a significant space of time, I try to sympathize with them, even though they usually annoy
me more than anything.
The painter who was going to help me put the car back together (all it needed was some stripes put on and the rear bumper reflectors screwed back in) didn't come until almost 1pm, so I had been sitting there since 10am for nothing. So I noded, listened to mp3's, like I do when I'm bored at work on the weekdays, which is pretty much a daily thing for me. I wrestled with the idea of grabbing some fast food since I hadn't eaten yet today, but managed to convince myself to buy actual groceries to conserve cash.
While waiting for the painter to come, I got talked into writing an estimate for an elderly man whose work truck had been rear ended pretty hard. One of the porters had a soft spot for the guy, so I caved. Normally I don't want to be bothered by typical work week duties as these when I'm here, unpaid, on my own time to help a customer. But it was something to do. Once the painter had finished doing his thing, I changed into my work uniform and quickly washed the Accord and drove it to the lot where its owner could pick it up.
Just as I was trying to leave at 3pm, a tow truck driver came up the drive with two tow bills for some cars he'd scooped up for us over the last two days, two days of solid, unrelenting rain that the area deeply needed. Rain brings us business during dry patches of work, so we welcome it. I wrote him two purchase orders, took the keys from him and finally was able to go home. I am too nice sometimes.
Even though it was sprinkling on and off all day, I wanted to go walk in the park. I try to walk every day. It helps me get out of my head for a half hour or so, a place where I can see trees that go on forever, trees that have been around for hundreds of years, it seems. Audubon Park is always busy with activity on the weekends in the summer, with company picnics and family reunions, all sorts of people striving for better health in much the way I do. People from all walks of life. I love people watching, so going to the park is a Cliffs Notes version. You get to see people racing past you or up ahead of you for yards. You get to see people being themselves, and it's comforting to see. I need to see that almost every day.
Saturdays are the days I try to stay out of the apartment as long as I can, since I normally don't have much daylight to myself. If I don't actively force myself out there, I never leave, and that's just not good for me. After the park, I drove to the Rue De La Course on Magazine, another favorite people watching place. Only here, it's almost all college age fare. One guy sitting a few tables down from me is sitting in front of a notebook, a paperback, mug and smokes. I watch his profile, which by location is directly in front of me, so I don't feel as much of a voyeur. He is simply in my line of sight, I say to myself. He is clean shaven and wearing one of those baggy white short sleeved button ups that small framed guys typically wear. I watch him rest his head against the wooden high back chair as though he is expressing his melancholy, despairing slightly at the thoughts in his head. He looks at his book and notebook as things he must wade through, things that contain knowledge that he already knows but must read a second and third time. I watch him tap his cigarette and sip his coffee. I watch him as he, like I do sometimes, checks his periphery for people who may be watching him. I see, from the side, his pupils slide over in my direction but he doesn't turn his head. And then I realize that he is gesturing in all of the similar ways that I do when I know someone is paying attention. You feel this need to be something worth looking at, since you're already being watched. He gets up and leaves, and I return to my book, a book Shmuel's dad Ralston leant me called Bird by Bird my Anne Lamott
I rent two movies from Blockbuster and head home, whereupon I started actually (kinda) cooking dinner while removing the nail polish from my toes. I got a call from Byzantine a fellow noder and friend, while I was out. He's in some Army training for the summer, so I caller ID the pay phone number and returned the call. Ironically the phone normally wouldn't receive incoming calls, he says. In fact, the phone did not actually ring. He was just about to pick up the phone to call another friend of his and heard me asking for him, since I didn't know who would pick up. We talked for a little while, and he says he's going to ship me all the Army gear I want; he said it horribly cheap. I've always wanted a T-shirt that had ARMY on it, so he's sending me one, plus a pair of running shorts, a duffel bag and a canteen. He said getting them to me before I go off for the Cornerstone Festival in July should be no problem, so they will be much appreciated, as I will be likely camping on the festival grounds for at least three of the days I am visiting Shmuel. It was nice to talk to him and I think we are becoming good friends. I promised him I would send him lots of letters, since mail is a status symbol in the Army, he says. I mean, shit, if I can write a long node like this about how I spent my boring little Saturday, imagine how many letters I can write about the last two weeks.