Sunday, April 26, 2020

A Golden Encounter

I had a golden encounter this covidious afternoon. To wit, I was out in the front yard mowing the lawn with my hand reel mower - I roll that way. I was wearing the face mask The Wife had sewn for me out of my old Hanes undershirts. Mowing was going fine...

Sidenote: I was wearing my Presentation Pete t-shirt from my old Lotus Freelance days that I had found in the box in the garage that we were going to donate to Goodwill, but that, in our covidious era, I decided actually sparked joy. I wore the shirt proudly...

I. Presentation Pete (An Entertainment)

The Secret Life of Presentation Pete is quite the twisted tale; evocative, it put me in a good mood.

II. A Golden Encounter

Back to my golden encounter, where was I? Oh yes, there I was minding my business mowing my front lawn with my hand reel mower. I was wearing the face mask The Wife had sewn for me out of my old Hanes undershirts. Mowing was going fine...

The searing Austin sun meant that I was getting a good sweat going. I was a little worried that one of the bolts had come off the hand mower and so was treading gingerly with it. I didn't fancy making a trip to Home Depot - self isolation and all that, you know.

A white SUV passed on the other side of the street and made a hasty U-turn. Working as I now do at a car company, I was quite proud of myself for identifying the model, one of ours, a 2018 Chevy Tahoe LT. This guy essentially got me last year's bonus.

The car pulled up just by my mailbox and stopped. The driver rolled down his window. He beckoned to me. Intrigued but, well, observing social distancing I stopped mowing, took my gloves off, and took a step towards him. He beckoned to me almost impatiently again.

I noted that he wasn't wearing a mask. I took a step back, out of covidious practice. He was holding something in his hand.

"Yes... What is it?".

The thought crossed my mind that perhaps I shouldn't be talking to Johnny Random Driver Who Does a U turn When He Sees Your Black Ass Mowing the Lawn.

Whatever he was holding was shiny. I felt relief that it wasn't a gun. I haven't traveled all this way in life to die on my front lawn - and I knew The Wife would complain that I hadn't finished mowing (keeping up with the Joneses)

"Come. Come.", he was insistent, gruff even.

He was a middle eastern man, I could tell from the way he looked and the impatient accent. I know the type.

"What is it? How can I help you?"

"It's gold."


"Yes gold. I need money."

Phew. I took a closer look, and, yes, it did indeed look to be a gold coin that he was dangling towards me. Still, I shook my head.

"No thanks, sir."

He looked irritated, but I made to turn back to the house.

I had tagged him as Lebanese or Syrian, a heavy set man, mid-40s. He made that pshew sound with his cheeks.

Definitely Lebanese, I thought.

I turned towards him, remembering for some strange reason that it was Ramadan. 3 pm is getting to be hunger time. I remember trying to shop at the Halal butchers around that time in our Before Coronavirus life. Impatience reigns in those hours. I greeted him, "Assalamu Alaikum".

He paused in consternation, as if to reassess his interlocutor. He ventured almost reluctantly a soft response, "Alaykumu s-salām".

I gave him the customary toli head nod. He drove off and made a dangerous u-turn on the street (our street is still surprisingly full of cars despite the shelter-in-place mantras). I wished him well on his future golden transactions.

"I need money" indeed.

I returned to my lawn mowing - it's great exercise. The Wife thinks all this covidious yard work is doing wonders for my body (hint hint).

Hey, what do you know, the kids didn't hang handkerchiefs over the Nest cam as they normally do (they don't believe in our tech surveillance capitalism present) so it captured some footage

A golden encounter

I suspect that if he came back 6 months hence, I would trade him the yams I planted in the backyard for some of his gold.

I knew what was going on. The first of the month is less than a week away. Mortgage, rent and car payments are due. People are trying to liquidate gold on the streets of Austin. Ah this covidious life. After this golden encounter, I think I'll stick to my backyard.

A golden encounter playlist

Adapted from some pandemic toli

See also: The Mosquito Principle

6 weeks later, the bolts disappeared, it was back to basics for me. See Nuts and Bolts

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