Friday, March 31, 2023

Cowboy Days, Lonesome Nights

That's my shadow.  God knows how long ago.  Look how short my hair was.  And those sticks leaning against the fence, those are the handles I need today.  Needed a couple days ago, really, but I am painting the deck today, so I really need them now.  I've looked for them, though, and they are gone, gone, gone.  I know I didn't throw them away.  I wouldn't.  It seems a small thing, but now I have to buy new paint roller handles and new rollers.  

Whatever.  I'm sick of working already.  Yesterday I went to the gym before working because my tenant stays up all night and sleeps late into the day.  To be courteous. . . . 

I guess I got started around ten.  I had to clear her landing and then began spraying the TSP mix.  Then with a small brush, I scrubbed.  Then I pressure washed.  Bingo!  But then I looked at the stone patio that leads to the garage and decided I needed to wash it, too.  This, much to my chagrin, was more tedious by far.  Inch by fucking inch, I cleaned each stone.  When I was getting close to being finished, the tenant stepped out.  

"Would you like a sandwich?"

I realized then that I hadn't eaten anything that day and it was mid-afternoon.  


She went in to make it when a truck from the engineering firm with whom I have a service contract pulled up.  It was Roberto.  

"Hey man, are you here to service the HVACs?  Oh, wow. . . I totally forgot."

And so I met with him and got him into the house and up the stairs to the attic and let him do his work.  I went back to pressure washing until the tenant came out.  I asked if she needed help, but she had it all on a tray.  We sat in the yard in chairs that had been taken from the deck and ate tuna sandwiches.  The tuna was fairly plain and had only a little mayonnaise and chopped onion as condiments.  But I was hungry and glad to have the sandwiches.  The wonderful thing about tuna salad, though, is that you can throw a million different things into it--dried cranberries, raisins, chopped apple, sliced hard boiled eggs, celery, slivered almonds, relish--the list is long.  

As we ate, Roberto continued his work, stopping to chat as he passed by.  Lunch done, I knew Roberto would be working for at least another hour as he still had the apartment's HVAC unit to do. . . so, with no choice, I went back to work.  I finished the patio and decided to water the trees and shrubs and the parts of the lawn that the sprinkler is apparently missing.  By now, my body was tightening up.  I was already aching from the weird movements, the bending and stretching things.  Just as I finished watering and was putting away the hose, Roberto came over for me to sign the receipt.  Thank God.  I was done.  

I limped into the house and ran a hot Epsom Salts bath.  Holy smokes, it felt wonderful.  I fell asleep lying there until the water began to cool.  By the time I had showered and spruced, it was four-thirty.  Cocktail time.  

Sitting in the chair in the yard with a Campari and soda in the late afternoon shade, I got a text.  Kids from the factory had gone to Miami for another group trip.  

"Are you on your way?"

They knew I wasn't.  Oh, no, I said, I'm all cowboy right now.  I'm not into group things.  I'll meet them here in town where I can bail anytime I wish, but to be trapped for a long weekend is out of the question.  

As I was thumb typing, my across the street neighbor, a retired surgeon who rarely speaks to anyone in the neighborhood, walked up.  He wanted to know if I had gotten the email about the streetlights.  The city is putting all the power, telephone, and cable wires underground which means the telephone poles will go.  One of the city commissioners who lives on my street which is a very short street, indeed, sent a message around about putting in new, decorative street light poles.  The surgeon wanted to know what I thought.  

"Oh, that would be very nice depending on what it will cost."

It turns out to be $6.95 a month.  Fuck that, but I didn't put it in those terms.  Into perpetuity.  Everyone in the neighborhood has put up enough lighting to ward off the darkness.  No.  

Later, as I began to grill my kabob, Q called.  Or rather, I called him back.  He was driving to Joshua Tree for somebody's party.  He was still famous, he said.  It was a command performance.  He was passing Bakersfield and was staying the night in Barstow, a hideous place full of junkies and prostitutes, he said, made famous in "Fear and Loathing."  Later, he sent a pic with the caption "Sunset in Barstow."  

I assumed that he shot this from his bed where he lay with a baggie of heroin and a hooker.  Only Chasing the Dragon, of course.  No mainlining.  Just preparing for the madness to come.  

I ate my salad outside, but when the kabob was ready, I took it into the house and slid it off the skewer into a bowl of brown jasmine rice.  I sat on the couch to eat, but before the last bite, I had fallen asleep.  

Bedtime came early.  

The life of a cowboy.  

I don't want to do this any longer, but I am not even halfway through.  I will paint the deck today.  Depending on how long that takes, I may paint the fence, or part of it, anyway.  But I have much prep to do before I begin, taping the house so that I don't get green deck paint on it.  I still have to go to the store to get the rollers, brushes, and paint.  I'm already tired.  

This is dull, I know but it is the what a working stiff has to say.  I did this, then this, then this happened, then I fell asleep.  

I don't even have music to share.  

I'm back to a place I've been for a long time now, wondering what is wrong with me, and dreaming of a knock on the door.  A fellow at the gym asked me, "What's new?  Are you dating anyone?"  That's the way fellows talk, you know.  

"Nothing new.  Just work.  It's hard to meet anyone when you sit inside your house alone." 

Like every other man in my own village, he jokingly suggested hookers.  I wish that would do it.  I wish I were like so many of them.  I wish I were a fuck boy.  

Rather, you know, I'm just a tender hearted cowboy, working all day and spending nights waiting still on my own true love.  

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