By Carol Pearlman – October 11, 2014
Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.
HaHaHaHaHaHa HaHaHaHaHaHa HaHaHaHaHaHa HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa
A ROAD RUNS THROUGH IT
A squad of sea lions hoots & honks in front of my house, luring me out of my kitchen to the living room window that faces the river. Sex, I think: hanging up my apron. What else? A shiny black head explodes out of the water with a fish in its mouth, dives back under, and returns to the air yelping & chewing his dinner with complete abandon. Ahhh, food, of course; why didn’t I think of that? Hopeful after-work wanna-be fishermen gather behind the railing and watch the swimmer with envy & admiration; their pails are empty.
Hot pink & orange clouds are tinged with gold; the color intensifies while I watch the blinding sun veil itself behind the cranes of Mare Island. Once again, the infinite azure shamelessly exhibits its divine unique masterpiece at the end of the day. I step out onto the patio, alone in the world; just me and the sky and the river. The wind picks up and my new ten foot parasols, bought on sale at BB&B, tremble like billowing sails; the glistening water turns into a million peaks like frosting on a cake. A great flock rises and swoops across the canvas like a flying carpet.
I’m loving it, obviously. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be, and the road, with its traffic, noise & dust is the price I pay for this daily thrill that plays out every evening on the banks of the Napa River right in front of my house. I’m taking a Zen attitude and accepting what IS into my life; paying it no attention. I hardly hear it now, except for the buses; don’t get me started on them. I’m living in the right place, the right space, in spite of the road that runs through it – and the dusty field beside it that no one cares to clean up.
I’m learning how to be a home owner. Mainly, it involves regular trips to Home Depot and running up big credit card balances. I’m nearly settled in now, getting established in my home, dealing with smaller details, organizing closets & shelves, although it still feels surreal when I think that a mere three months ago I lived in a glamorous West Hollywood rent-controlled apartment, near Trader Joes, Crossroads Trading, and the Korean Spa I loved so much.
I finally found a reliable handyman to put up shelves, and a mobile welder to fix my thrift-shop patio chairs – both fellows were on Craigslist and live in Vallejo — but got screwed by a nasty crook (also from Vallejo) who finagled money out of me, never showed up, and hung me up for more than a month. I’m afraid to do anything about it for fear he’ll drop a load of manure on my patio. My neighbor assures me Karma will take care of him for me.
In a futile attempt to block some of the road noise, I filled the gaps under the patio walls with bricks. Like a warm-hued baseboard, it looked so good I decided to put a layer of bricks around the whole house and inside all the patio walls, thereby cheering up the hitherto prison-yard appearance of the cold stony space that surrounds my house.
When we had our only day of rain last week I rolled down the umbrellas & covered seat cushions with those giant plastic BB&B bags, which I saved for the purpose. A good neighbor suggested I pick up the door mats & hang them upside down over the chairs, so they’ll be dry when the rain stops. This neighbor also laid the bricks & planted plants, whose names I know not, in my new barrel planters, creating a beautiful space to sit and enjoy the river, while ignoring the noisy road.
I attended a forum of school board wannabe candidates. It seems our badly run Vallejo schools cause underpaid, unappreciated teachers to run away, & keep new families from moving in to our fair city, holding real-estate values down, crime high, and causing hard times for many. Gotta work hard to change that. Gotta speak up, & vote.
I like Shellee, the young college board fellow, & the one who didn’t show up. We can’t keep anyone who’s already on the board because they’ve amply proved their incompetence, and worse. At the participatory budget voting, I voted to turn that field of dust & grime, between the road and the river, into a park, but alas, not enough people care about this like I. and a few of my neighbors. do.
What about that earthquake! I didn’t think I’d survive the shaking, & screamed in bed for the full 22 seconds that felt like the end of the world. Luckily, my house & I, as well as my neighbors, made it through unscathed. We gathered in the parking lot & comforted each other, checking to be sure everyone was accounted for and ok. What a great bunch of neighbors I’ve got. I’m grateful to this community of good people, and to this place where I live, in spite of the road that runs through it.
Visits to the grandkids make everything worthwhile. Solid Gold. Now I’m trying to learn the Pokemon card game, but nothing in my long life of experience of game-playing has prepared me for that. I don’t believe anyone truly knows how to play the game but the kids make it up as they go along. It’s all a hoax designed to sell expensive cards.
I went to the Poetry by the Bay Open Mike event at the Hub one night, got on stage in front of an illustrious audience of poets & other lovers of the muse, & read a poem. I also promoted my memoir, sales of which haven’t exactly been soaring recently. I imagined a group of poetry lovers would have the literary inclinations of book buyers, but not one of them bought my book. I know, believe me; Amazon tells all. Now I hope the well-read, intelligentsia who read VIB will check it out. Please! You can read the entire Prologue on my website: FLATBUSHPRINCESS.COM, and buy it, if so moved. You will love it, I promise. Only $2.99 – a bargain for all those good words. Lots of sex, too. If you don’t like it I’ll return your money. How’s that for a deal?