Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The great divide*

A friend sent me a song with these lyrics:

I've been siftin' through the layers
Of dusty books and faded papers
They tell a story I used to know
And it was one that happened so long ago

He suggested that it may be a good accompaniment to my forthcoming move.

I’m switching neighborhoods soon – placing myself in the midst of Bassett.

Tonight at dusk I set out for a ride with Mr. B. I loved last night’s amble, so why wouldn’t I love it tonight? Why indeed. My relationship to dusks is unsettling, unpredictable, almost always an issue.

I headed for something nearby, comparable to what I found downtown at Bassett: a body of water and railroad tracks. Only the pond here lacked bike access. And the railroad tracks crossed uninteresting terrain.

But it had a train. Moving fast. Toward me (not to fear-- I am a careful watcher of trains). Almost as exhilarating as speeding down Old Sauk Hill, keeping the hand loosely on the break (I am careful on the bike as well). The suburbs make you do these vaguely daring things I suppose. Maybe I’ll calm down once I’m downtown.

* by Kate Wolf
migrating geese love this place in the fall... Posted by Hello
hey, slow down, I need a photo! Posted by Hello

Simulblogging a real estate agents’ luncheon in my own home!

The sign out front says OPEN HOUSE. And it is. In fact, all the windows are open even though I should have the AC on. I’m no fool. I know real estate agents like to feel cool in an open house. Unfortunately, the AC died on me this morning. Probably from under-use.

[…and wouldn’t you know, I just dished out some money on a home-owners’ policy on all appliances yesterday! I’m reaping the rewards of foresight and prudence!]

Today is the first day that this house is on the market. Me, if I had to show case one thing about it, it would be this room:
can one have crushes on rooms? I do... Posted by Hello
But my agent cannot get over the size of the master-bedroom: you can party in it, she writes. What kind of people have parties in their bedroom? What is she saying about me?

I smell Olive Garden.

I hear very nice a lot and wow it’s huge. Okay. Fine. But you are also trampling down my freshly vacuumed carpets. Can I sneak out and vacuum in between agents? Will they mind? Can I say I am the Polish maid?

I shouldn’t be here. I shouldn’t be here. But I am, fascinated by the concept of a Free Lunch Open House. Because that’s what this is all about – my agent is getting them in the door with food. Ahhh, the Polish way.

Okay, in the midst of it all, the guy comes to fix the AC, further trampling down my now-not-so-nicely vacuumed carpets. And the verdict: there is nothing wrong with the AC! Maybe it just didn’t feel like giving out cold air yesterday. Oh, right, fine – I have a temperamental little number that may have gotten insulted with all my AC bashing.

More agents. They are now eating lunch everywhere – living room, dining room, my place has become an Olive Garden Extension. Lasagna, salad, bread. I’m not even hungry, the stuff smells like take-out usually smells: part plastic, part tomato.

And the agents keep coming. How many agents in Madison need a free lunch?? Are they all not making enough money? They dress well and drive fancy cars – not cars I like, but still…

I like my agent. She is peppy. She’s obviously trying to make a go of this career. I fell for her zip and vigor, even though she is a woman of no real estate experience. Gotta support the up-and-coming. Maybe someone will hire me as I apply for additional work someday as a barista. [What, do you think, I lack barista talent?? Take a look at what’s been written about my passion for coffee here and here!]

One more hour of this. I’m going to quit blogging and go for a walk. Listening to others talk about the home you love is like eavesdropping on gossip about your children. You enjoy the praise, you do, but you sweat listening for that little dig that you feel will surely come. I definitely would fly downstairs and land some punchy blows on anyone saying one unkind thing about this house of all houses. So, off I go.

Time, summertime, this time

Since it’s just Mr. B and me, out and about, I have to configure time differently. Before: Borders Bookstore to the far far west side = 10 minutes. Now, it's closer to half an hour, depending on how forcefully I attack the hills between the one place and the other.

I was, therefore thrilled to have configured time so well tonight: I arrived at place MG at 6:59, one minute ahead of schedule.

Okay, let me start with the denouement: where am I and what am I eating??
Mediterranean shrimp on arugula Posted by Hello
I am not ashamed to admit it: I am eating at a place that has elicited the following comments: disgusting name! whoever grills macaroni?? Or: I wont set foot in that chain if you paid me!

The fact is, the price is totally reasonable and food is good. No, really, for what it attempts to do – it is delicious.

I am to meet a certain someone here for dinner. A quick look tells me that I am perhaps too prompt. I am seated at a booth and I wait. And wait. I look at the menu and I am reminded that the previous time I had been here, someone wrote a terribly accusatory post about me simply because I called attention to this:
...for sensible people Posted by Hello

That same person is now coasting into thin-blivion on the strength of his own volition. All I wanted to say then and now is that sometimes the best food can be found on the Slender Fare side of the menu, darn it!

I order wine as I wait. My dinner companion and I typically share a bottle. She is so late! I may as well have a sip now, especially since I have peddled like the devil to get here on time.
waiting Posted by Hello
Half an hour later I begin to worry. The last time she was this late it was for this reason.

I get up and pace. Oh! My God! She is there, in a booth clear across the room, waiting for me!
my artsy friend has used her waiting time and crayons on the paper tablecloth well Posted by Hello
The hostess is most apologetic. The waiter is most apologetic. The manager is most apologetic. They offers us free dessert. What, we will then be forced to eat something for free that we wouldn’t have otherwise ordered??? My companion will have none of it. You want to comp something, comp the extra wine we’ve had to drink waiting for each other.

They do. M.Grill rules!

After dinner, I take the side roads home, just in case I am getting close to a legal limit of wine drinking. Halfway home my cell rings and I pick it up. I feel blissfully peaceful riding the backroads in the darkening night and chatting away. My cateye is not exactly a power strobe, but it calls attention to Mr. B and me.

Out of nowhere, a police car pulls up behind me. Even when you are not breaking any law, you recoil when a squad vehicle sits on your back for blocks on end. Fear and intimidation! Oh, you think this story has one of those typical Ocean dramatic endings? No -- I pull over, finish my conversation and resume my slow-paced ride home.

God, I love Madison in the summer.