b r e a t h i n g
r o o m
21 Mar 98
The original plan for today was to bring the new car into the dealer to have a flaky air conditioner checked (a few days lately have been real hot) at eight in the morning, walk over to our favorite local breakfast place (Mama's Royale Café, which is normally impossible to get into on the weekend, but our 8:20 arrival time would give us a fighting chance), have a leisurely meal, then return to the dealership, pick up the car and go to Berkeley, where we'd hole up in B's office, solve some of the technical problems she's been having posting new material at the department's web site. Then we'd set up some convenient shortcuts for that site, as well as for Enterzone, and for a new space on the web where B can develop some of her recent ideas.
But yesterday when we spoke on the phone in the evening (I was still at the conference, she had to get out of the tub to pick up the phone - fortunately, I filibustered), we got flustered thinking through our weekend plans. We decided to cancel the trip to the dealer, and go to a morning yoga class to make up for the one we were both missing as we spoke. By the time morning rolled around, we realized we were still minus sleep (I'd been getting up at 6 or so to pick up Scot, who's writing a competing Be book, and drive down together; getting home at 8 or 9 at night) and decided to skip it and sleep in longer.
Then Louise called because she was leaving on a trip and her cat who'd recently been hit by a car was stuck in her box all day, and could Briggs come over and feed her and let her out of the box? Our older car's been having brake problems and B didn't want to take it on the road, so she took the new car. The plan was that when she got back, I'd go into my office and do the work I had to do. (Then we'd go into her office on Sunday.)
After an hour or so, I realized that I still needed some blank 90 minute tapes to copy the Phil Lesh & Friends show I was just sent DAT>analog copies from a friend's digital master, so I called Loo's place and tried to leave a message for B in case she was there or not there yet. If she was on her way home, I could pick up the tapes myself on the way downtown. Moments later, I heard the answering machine pickin up (the ringer was off on the phone). As I got to the machine, I heard a voice saying "...leave a message?" and then fainter, sounding like Briggs, another voice "...this woman is going to give me a ride home." I picked up our phone but the line was dead. This was eerie, sort of ghostlike. I listened to the message, not positive it was B's voice.
As on a week ago Friday when I'd instantly understood the intent behind the message B'd left in front of the computer, and just as quickly dismissed it and proceeded with rationalizations, in this case I was immediately speculating about Loo's answering machine triggering a call back, or some sort of party-line effect. Meanwhile, it was taking B a lot longer to get home than I'd expected (but it's not unlike her, to make a few side trips once she gets out of the house, me neither).
Finally, I heard a car door slam and assumed it was Briggs. She came up the walkway, carrying a bunch of stuff, other things crammed in her pockets. I briefly assumed she had parked on the street. She came in the door, looking bedraggled. I started taking things out of her hands - tapes, stuff from the glove compartment - understanding slowly dawning. "Well," she said, "we're even" and I knew what she meant. She'd been in an accident in the (my) new car.
Copyright © 1997, 1998