We’re having SoCal weather. Flora says, if this keeps up we will turn into republicans.. What about the people in Kansas? I say. You can’t blame it on pretty weather. Blows my theory, she says.
Anyway, here I am in shorts and flipflops that are a millimeter from worn through somehere else. I have never walked down Mission Street in flipflops before. Shorts, maybe. Where is the fog? Dozens of times I’ve wished for 6 degrees of separation from the marine layer. Shazam! I’m afraid I’ve used up all my wishes.
I am on a quest for mangos to sweeten the applesauce I made this morning. There are 6 produce stores between Cesar Chavez and 21st St.
I had my usual quarrel with the apple tree. Until this very day I thought it was a ‘Lodi’ but I read in a book of Robert Kourik’s that ‘Lodi’ is a “keeper.” HA. I got back from Denver to find the patio and the flowerbed blanketed with what would mistakenly be called windfall. The second the apple ripens it falls, wind or no wind. It’s either pick them green or try to harvest some from the ground, a doubtful and often disgusting occupation. The apple is so soft that even writing about it is liable to bruise it, with rot in hot pursuit. I thought, just don’t slip on one and crack something. Otherwise ignore all and sundry. But of course peasant guilt overtook me and this morning I picked what seemed ripest and salvaged what I could of what was already on the ground. Even with a .250 batting average (for every one teased into the fruit picker, 3 rained down) I soon had 3 bags full. Most were unripe, but hey. I pared them unpeeled down to the core, and put them in the pot, burner on low, adding nothing, not even water. In thirty minutes they were stewing in their own juice.
On Mission Street I buy a hat for shade, 100% paper made in china, from a Guatemalan woman. I also buy two cloth bracelets woven by a woman seated nearby who I’m guessing is Bolivian. I don’t know what I’m thinking. I can’t even tie them around my wrist. And I buy 8 fat mangoes, 2 for a buck.
Outside the gelato place is a man clothed only in shoes and track shorts with the number 8. Distinctly, carefully drawn lines descend from the crown of his head down his torso and legs, as if her were part Spiderman, part web. I glance and pass by him slurping my gelato, as if he’s just another sight, which of course, he’s not. I re-cross the street and ask him, “Is this a normal look for you?”
He laughs, considers and says, “I’m not sure I’m comfortable talking to a stranger about this.”
In a back yard on Cypress Alley, no bigger than your thumbnail, is a homemade band, middle-aged guys, singing and playing the drums as if they’d waited decades for this moment, turning into republicans.