Just a job, a knock back the weeds job.  I’ve never met the owner, who hired me via email, and who’s off on vacation for some indefinite time.  I gather she lives in the mother-in-law at the back when she’s in town.

In the back garden the bamboo is at death’s door due to lack of water because the spigot connected to the watering system was turned off.

I’ve done the snipping and jabbing and bagging when the young woman who’s staying in the mother-in-law for the time being arrives and introduces herself.  Her name is Asia.  She watered the bamboo.  It was so dry when she moved in.

You may have saved its life, I tell her, impressed.  How few would have bothered, especially one there so temporarily. It’s because she was a farmer, growing for a vegetarian restaurant in Denver.

I may have looked dubiously at her gamine frame, her delicate hands.

Colorado is her “real home” but she likes it likes it here, too.   She has great dance teachers. We agree Coloradoans are more outgoing than San Franciscans, she says it’s because of the quality of the air there, and the weather.  Here, I add, it’s often cool, and San Franciscans are bundled up.  Also, our neighbors are so close they’re practically in our laps.

Having gathered my tools, I am about to close the garage door behind me when she approaches and asks, “Would you like to be friends?”

“Like on Facebook?”

“I’m not on Facebook.”

“You’re not on Facebook?  That’s extraordinary.  Like real friends?”

“Yeah.  You seem so sweet and I don’t have a lot of friends here yet.”

When have I ever been asked that?



I spend the afternoon attending to my garden, the soundtrack that chestnut, “Wouldn’t It Be Slovenly.”  Too many nooks in my lovely little oasis might be described as such, though I hope not within earshot.  It hasn’t helped that some critter has been getting the munchies and rooting around wrecking the fabulously creative and weirdly impractical pathway I spent pains creating.  You should have seen it.

Moving the hose I notice another slovenly thing I overlooked earlier, two large fronds of the Australian tree fern plop atop the daphne.  Odd perhaps that I would notice the fronds before the cause of their severance: what appears to be a door with a big glass window, but turns out to be a 6 by 3 feet plastic dome framed in aluminum; a skylight lofted, presumably, from the 3-storey building next door, or some Herzog movie I didn’t see.

Let’s bow our heads in gratitude that I was not working right there then although it may have made sfgate: Man Bonked by Skylight.



  1. I thought ‘Facebookfriend’ was one word. Nicely done again Richard.

  2. Aha. She discovered what we already know. Most of the time anyway. When you are not tormenting your siblings. 🙂

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