Friday, July 04, 2014

A Congenial Chill

A few weeks ago, Carol Joy came to town on a Saturday and we had tasty breakfasts at Boogaloo’s, so large neither of us could finish ours, which is a rarity. I had scrambled eggs with mushrooms, a biscuit, and potatoes, and avocado on the side. The avocado, as at Radish, was a modest portion and a bit past its prime, but at least it was $1.50 instead of $2.50. If I go there again, I’ll have the exact same thing, minus the avocado.

After breakfast, we took a stroll on 24th St. east of Mission, to Potrero Ave. and back. Next we sat in Borderlands Café and played two entire games of Sneaky Pete. Each game has seven hands, each of which has a different objective, a combination of runs (four cards in a row in the same suit) and sets (three of a kind). During these two games, not once but twice I forgot what the objective was while playing the hand! This has never happened before, let alone twice in a day. So I was trying to, for instance, put together two sets and one run when the goal was two runs and one set. Sigh. I lost both games, but then, I almost always do. Playing is fun, anyway. Once, looking at my hand, I frowned and said, “Good lord!” and Carol Joy joked, “There’s that poker face.”

After all that card playing, it was time for dinner at Café Ethiopia. We’re both vegetarians, so we shared three or four (well, four) tasty vegetarian dishes. The mushrooms are my favorite.

I’ve started taking a bike ride instead of a walk when feasible, and I’m so enjoying those rides, now that it has been 19 months of hot flashes, and with the weather often hotter than it used to be. On top of that, there are two clothes dryers that vent underneath my kitchen windows, and at least one person uses dryer sheets, full of nasty chemicals. (They probably have some in Rainbow that are just fine, smell aside.) She probably doesn’t even know she’s cloaking herself in carcinogens because the law doesn’t require the actual ingredients to be listed on the box, but two minutes online will tell you what they are. So from time to time, instead of a nice westerly breeze coming through my three kitchen windows, it’s a cloud of poisonous fumes, so the two choices in regard to those windows are to leave them closed most of the time and only open them when I’m in the kitchen and can verify that the dryer below is not in use, or to leave them open all the time and close them when I realize my apartment has filled with fumes, neither of which is ideal.

I actually gave some thought to taking this up with the dryer sheet user—maybe she would like me to find her a better class of dryer sheet at Rainbow, or maybe it would be possible to extend the vent up to the top of the building—it doesn’t look like it is—but this is the same person with whom I fought so many times over cigarette smoke and grilling, and with whom I get along excellently now, so I decided not to say anything to her. Yes, on the one hand, people should not be venting poison into other people’s space, but on the other, we’re talking about three or four hours a week, and I can easily close my window at those times. If I choose to keep my windows closed most of the time to avoid a toxic wind and my apartment is like a sauna and I’m dripping with sweat, I can’t blame her.

I’m contemplating getting a giant fan to supplement my collection of little fans. I remember reading in about 1987—I remember right where I was standing when I read this newspaper article—about how we would have to ensure that we had plenty of electricity to run all the extra air conditioning and fans we’d need as the globe warmed, and of course I thought that was ludicrous: why don’t we not warm the globe? But here we are. We have warmed the globe and I personally am extremely warm and I guess the cost of not risking a fight with my neighbor may be to use additional power to run a fan, just as that article said. Or I may not get another fan. Maybe I’ll just be hot.

So I appreciate every moment where there is a clean breeze. I love being in that part of the park before the final turn that takes you to the water, where there are a lot of tall trees and it’s always cool. I love sailing downhill on my bike, heading west, with the wind in my face, and then enjoying the view at the water’s edge. Any moment that is cold and gloomy and foggy is a delectable moment to be appreciated.
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