My timing is bad again, arriving just when the neighbor’s cleaning lady has the blower out and is air-blasting the steps and front sidewalk. Last time I gave her the nastiest look in my gallery and when she had finally turned the damn thing off, I told her how I hated it. “You’re wearing a mask,” I said. “What about me and everybody who walks down the street?
“I turn it off,” she said.
“Yeah, and the dust magically disappears. And you are wearing ear plugs. And everyone else goes deaf.”
My whining fell on deaf ears. Nor did my dirty look do much good. Nonetheless, I reprise it today. Dirty Look. She waves, turns off the machine, takes off her mask.
“Hi, you’re back. I’m cleaning up the leaves.”
“I see that. Why don’t you use a broom? I hate that damn thing.”
“He wants me to use it,” she says pointing upstairs.
I try a new tactic. Be nice. Introduce myself. Her name is Bianca. In true San Francisco fashion, our conversation soon turns to real estate. “Where do you live,” she asks. I tell her. “With your wife?”
“No. I live alone.”
“Really? You don’t have no partner or nothing?”
“Nope. He died.”
“Oh sorry. You don’t get another?”
“Why do you ask? Do you want to marry me?”
“Sure. We can get married.”
A few more minutes of blow-hell and she wraps up the cord. She looks over at me raking leaves from the beds onto the sidewalk which the wind blithely tumbles over to the pristine expanses of blown heaven. “You don’t look gay,” she says.
“Well there you are.”
Finished with her job, she bids me have a good day. From the middle of the street on the way to her car she yells, “Don’t forget. We’re going to get married.”