Tuesday, April 06, 2010


The last Saturday in March was a day of tropical heat and sun, relatively speaking. It was gorgeous. I had a lucid dream to record in the morning, the aforementioned fourth one in the month of March, and in the early afternoon, I rode over to see B. This time, I took Scott to Post, which was much better than riding north on Masonic, though a bit hillier at the end.

There are cyclists everywhere now, all the time, and on this day, there were hordes of us. As I cycled north on Scott, my front brake pads, which had recently been replaced, began to make a sandpapery noise. Then the brakes locked up almost completely, and then loosened again—fortunately—but there was a marked THUNK with each revolution of the wheel.

I made it over to B.’s facility and we spent a pleasant two hours chatting. When I said I was going out to the hallway to refill my water cup, she said, “Go ahead. They’re not charging for water—yet.” When I returned, she said that we are going to run out of water one of these days, that we’ll be fighting over it, that it’s already starting to happen. She is certainly right about that. I told her I was sure that in time she would be proved right on all counts and she said, “Yes, that’s why I've decided I’ve got to keep living for a while. Also, I like [my daughter] quite a bit.”

She speaks now and then of death. She says she is not afraid to die and is matter-of-fact when discussing it, but she also has said many things that suggest she doesn’t think it’s going to be any time soon. She told me about a woman in a social circle of hers who died, just like that, “zappo.” However, the thing was, they had agreed that if any of them died, that person would let the others know what it was like, and they were surprised that after their friend’s death, they didn’t hear a single peep from her. In fact, not a word to this very day.

B. likes an awful lot of things, and has many interests. She loves to read (and, fortunately, still can). There were at least 10 new library books stacked in her room—mostly true-life adventure and seafaring tales—and a pile of the magazines she subscribes to, including Scientific American, and she enjoys hanging out the window at night to see who’s walking by between two and four a.m., and she likes art museums. She said something like, “I think it’s marvelous, what this modern world has become.” She adores campfires. She used to live on a boat. She reminds me in some ways of my mother, who also has a million enthusiasms, and also of my great aunt Mary, now deceased, who was a person of immense good cheer. She lived to be 99.

I rode back to the Mission after seeing B. and went to Freewheel. I was assuming that maybe my front brakes needed adjustment after the recent pad replacement, but it turned out I had run over gosh knows what, some metal thing, and it had managed to lodge into into the side of my wheel rim, knocking the brakes out of whack, and settling in so determinedly that Carlos had to grind it off. He said the sandpaper sound is caused by grit that gets picked up and sticks on the surface of a brake pad. He said bikes with fenders, like mine, are more prone to this, because debris gets sucked up between the fender and tire and then “drizzles” down onto the tire. If you ride around with dirty brake pads, it can eventually wear down your rim.

Tom looked at my rims in the evening, when he came down to watch a movie, and he thought I could actually stand to replace the front rim in coming months; he says that once a rim gets sufficiently worn down, it can give way with no notice, which may not be a life-threatening event, but may strand you in an inconvenient location.

We watched Up in the Air, with George Clooney and Vera Farmiga (thanks, Dadindeed her name is not Very Farmiga), which we both thought was vera, I mean very, good. It takes place in a variety of locations, one of which is purportedly Detroit. When the characters were leaving the Detroit airport, I tried to figure out if they were really there. In a shot of a window through which could be seen the nose of a plane and a gate number, I studied the gate number: 40A, or some such. Does Detroit have a gate 40A? I think so, but then, doesn't every airport?

Thus I nearly missed what was in the foreground of the shot, inside the window, and when I saw it, I yelled “LOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” at the top of my lungs and then waited while Tom rubbed his damaged ear.

I don’t want to wreck the movie for you or anything, but that shot shows THE WATER FEATURE AT THE MCNAMARA TERMINAL! That really is the Detroit airport. The water feature is off and it just looks like a pool of water, but that is absolutely it, with George Clooney standing on the far side of it, looking out the window. As it turns out, they shot the movie in only four locations, one of which was Detroit, which must have stood in for Milwaukee and Chicago. It was nice of them to bring so much work to Detroit.
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