I’m staying in a downstairs bedroom off the main house. There is a window that looks out onto the yard. While eating lunch a giant golden retriever bounded through the open sliding glass door, put his paws on the table and begged for a slice of bacon. I gave him some and petted his head.
He begged some more then left. I shut the screen and looked again, out of these windows that weren’t mine.
Song remains the same
I went downtown to get a cup of coffee. A very nice young woman with garish makeup and a kindly smile took my order. Her eye makeup trailed out from the edges of her eyes up onto her temples.
“Are you from here?” I asked.
“Yep!” She had the confidence of knowing where she was from.
“The town was pretty packed this weekend.”
“Every weekend,” she said.
“Filled with us tourists.”
She worked carefully on my coffee, thinking for a minute. “Yes. But it’s okay.”
“Can’t be helped. The money comes up here from down there.” She thumbed towards San Francisco. “It’s a big, rolling wave of money that drowns everything.” She shrugged. “Can’t be helped.”
Tattoos and all
I stopped in at a place that had a sandwich board out front. “New Bike Shop,” it said.
The owner was working on a kid’s bike, greasing the bottom bracket. “How’s it going?” I said.
He didn’t look up because he had looked up before I entered. He had a long, wild beard and ink, well, everywhere. “Good. You?”
“Good. Cool shop.”
He still didn’t look up. “Thanks.”
“How long have you been open?”
“Year and a half.” The bottom bracket was done and he leaned back. “But I’m not from here. Takes time. Have a look around.”
It was as much a personal bike stuff collection as a bike shop, filled with things that he cared about whether or not they would ever sell. It was miles, light years from a “concept store.” It felt bicycle, through and through and through. This was what happened when people were allowed to carve out a little space.
I thought about that big, rolling wave, bought a t-shirt, and left.
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