Yesterday I walked into a cement pole. It happened when I was waving goodbye to my dad’s business partner, his sons and a bunch of investors. I wished my lip got fatter because then you could see how it hurt my body about as much as my pride and we could’ve focused on that instead. The first announcement we heard when we got to the train station after the incident was that the late train was going to be even later. The man with white hair and shiny pocket pins standing behind the counter explained that the tracks up in Carpenteria were being repaired and they had been switching trains around all day, trying to avoid big delays, but our train took the brunt of it. All Scott said was “It must be a hard job trying to keep all of this straight.” And even though I wanted to be mad at something for causing us to get home to do our taxes an hour later than we should have been, I was glad he didn’t say anything else.
There were about four vending machines inside the station and the whole place smelled like hot pockets and cup of noodle, so I wanted to window shop at each just to see how these items were distributed. You could push little buttons the size of scrabble pieces to direct the food in a circle and choose what you wanted. Cup of noodles was cheaper than a bag of pretzels, but when I saw cheese rice cakes I knew I needed to dig in my bag for quarters. Seeing how this day was going, I wasn’t that surprised when the cakes got stuck. We shook the machine and slammed the little door open and shut to try and dislodge them, but they were more stubborn than we were and many people were sitting nearby trying to focus on a muted college basketball game, so we just let fate take its course for a minute.
This morning I was out in the yard to survey the expansion project we’ve undertaken at the moment. There’s a pine tree that might be older than Scott’s grandparents, but I’m told it has to go. I’ve fought to keep it for the last six years despite complaints from family members about the constant falling sap and excessive needle shedding. But the contractor said the roof was about the only thing keeping it from falling on our new nursery, so it was time to say goodbye to bark and roots and needles that I could feel had been someone else’s friend before too. New trees will come, but they won’t know this place or us the same.
As I came inside, Scott called me on his way to work asking if I’d go out and take a picture of his old car that hasn’t actually sold yet, sitting on our street. He hadn’t had much time to look at it before he left, but there was a ticket on the windshield saying something about how he owed a hundred and six dollars for not turning his wheels the right direction. What he wanted me to document was that the other cars on the street, parked the exact same straight-wheeled way, were left fine-free. I figured that all I’d really be capturing was our unluckiness at the moment.
When I texted him the pictures he figured paying the fine was probably less of a hassle than going to court to argue the ticket. He said it was so lame and that he figured this kind of thing only served to make people like cops less. I texted back that it was the lamest, but that we have Sprout.
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