Monday, January 26, 2015

Italians in Sausalito

I am an accountant, he said. Surveying policies for Whitney-Sykes, your homeowners insurance carrier. She smiled and nodded, waiting for him to mean something. 

"I do hope you have time to answer a few questions? I hope I'm not imposing?'

"Oh, no, no, not at all ; do come in."

Home was a stately Victorian, three floors, anchored in the Bay. It looked perfectly normal from its widow's walk until it went down into the water. 

After smiling and looking and noting, he asked, "May I ask your age?"

73. 

"And did you see a reduction in your premiums at age 65?"

No. Nor for her limited income, nor her other policies such as auto and boat. Nor for her excellent claim record, nor to account for guaranteed value of premiums. 

By his reckoning, Whitney owed the lady a considerable sum for premium overages and interest. Other homeowners in other floating homesteads were in similar circumstances. He could see no other remedy than for Whitney to cut a number of checks for a considerable total. 

A prospect at which his department head scoffed. 

"They're just dumb Bay bums; they don't know what they're owed nor how to claim it. 'There must be a lot of Italians in Sausalito.' That's a Kerouac quote."

Oh, but he did know how to make claims, and very effectively, too. He spent some time in the coming weeks with a law firm, at the end of which period he left his employment at  Whitney-Sykes. 

They had not seen the last of him, however. Not by a long suit. 

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Gentrification

I walk out one morning but not before I hear a loud voice, very angry. One of the uphill neighbors is berating somebody.
He drifts away up the trail in volume. Then I see what was troubling him.

Where yesterday there was but woods with nary a human habitat in sight, there has miraculously appeared without sound or notice a series of log buildings. I stand and watch but nothing appears more sensible.

The logs for the buildings, four or five in number and laid out end to end, are newly pine. I cannot tell what they are for. Here is an official of some sort. He seems to be the only such on site.

What are you doing? is my question. It's all within our rights, he doesn't answer.

Look, I say, you have removed our juniper fence and have your border blocking even our driveway! He says, we did a survey.

He seems sure of himself. Must represent some corporate monolith. I ask how many there will be to occupy these buildings. One, he says. He figures he need not take me seriously. I am but a rooster clucking in his yard.

Lady and I walk down the road. Weird neighbor has one of the new pine cabins  on his property. He is out, tells us, yes, he has an agreement with the interlopers. He tries to entice Lady into his yard, as is his wont. I tell her we must go, remember? I swear as we walk down the road. We have enough trouble without engaging the lonely loon again. (He used to drop by and try and catch Lady out on the road. We finally managed to discourage him.)

We will probably have to move, I say. Well, we've been sort of expecting this, she says.

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Monday, September 01, 2014

African Dreams

I am thinking of those class soaps on BBC and PBS wherein the maid or butler or indeed anyone in the manse will open any door to reveal who is there without any thought this may not be a wise move. I open the door. 

There is out on a porch an African tribe of some sort in full regalia. They are seated in a line, some seven of them, with assorted children. They are very black and one then another of the men raise their chins and moan some sort of chant with closed eyes to the effect, in my interpretation, that they are in quite a lowly state and I have personally either brought about the disaster or failed in my responsibility to provide a remedy. 

"I have the Red Cross here," I suggest. One of the dark yodelers scoffs in another harmonic wail, which I am becoming quite adept at translating. 

I close the door and retreat to the interior. As it happens, I do have the Red Cross in attendance; my Welcome Wagon hostess has brought goodies to ease my transition into the neighborhood. (I am annoyed she brought tea instead of coffee.)  As I have learned she works at Red Cross, I tell her of my visitors, expecting to be scolded for imposing on her day off. 

"No rest for the weary," she sighs. Stands and moves toward the front door. 


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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Alimentary, My Dear Watson

We were beginning a trudge some distance for an unknown purpose, which is typical of dreamwalks. My two companions were hideous. I wanted to put distance between me and them. Several joined the walk at various times so we became a dozen or so. 

Arriving somewhere, one said, here we are. Some entered a structure, so I did also, then all the rest followed. We sat at a table where hot victuals sat and we all dug in. 

A tall gent moved in state through the dining room door. He stood straight and tall in his deputy uniform. I must arrest you, he said, for breaking and entering. 

That's actually redundant, said one, for you cannot enter without breaking. It's like a penalty for jumping up then down. The tall cop seemed not to hear. 

We stood and moved out in a bunch and the cop followed. It was one bizarre bust. 

Another building was designated the house of detention. We milled about, sat, if we liked. I didn't know we were going where we weren't authorized, I said. Neither did I, said all my companions in turn. We were a gaggle of ducks. 

There will be fines for stealing grub, said the deputy. It was my own home, he added. 

I wondered how tight was the deputy's security. I stood. Ambled to the wall. Browsed the wallpaper to the door. It was open. The deputy had forgotten to shut it. Stood there looking through, admiring the outside. Straggled out onto the porch, sat on a rocker. Waited. Stood, placed hands in pockets, stepped down to the yard, whistling. Pulled up grass and let it fall to test wind direction. My test carried me by stutter steps to the edge of the lawn. One step later was the street. Several steps in quick secession was up the street. 

Not very tight, I decided. And now I was free of my eerie companions as well. 
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