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February 21, 2005


Becky and I slipped out today, after I walked the dog through tentative sunshine, to buy a new laptop for my Mesa Refuge residency. It took about half an hour to make sure of what I wanted and make the transaction.

This is the cruellest month where I live: cruel to anyone visiting from back east. Plum trees shower the sidewalks below with petals. Bearded iris send brilliant flags to be pelted by rain. The Ribes Ron gave us three years ago is in bloom again, billows of pink pendant clusters shining beneath the live oak.

My neighbor washed the car as Zeke and I walked past. "Taking advantage of the three hours between rainstorms?" I asked. He smiled. "Naah. We're done with rain for the next week or so." It had been a solid week of rain, three and a quarter inches total. A wet week before that.

Becky had wanted to park in the free lot three blocks away. Walking down the street, laptop box in hand, I felt a few raindrops, and then a few more. We ducked into a store "until it lets up." Five minutes later I decided it wasn't going to let up, but it was a light rain that would barely wet us by the time we reached the car. We headed out, around the corner, and were met with a sudden lightning storm cold front downpour.

The air was a little less filled with water than a swimming pool would have been. We waited for the light to change. I wore jeans, a heavy denim shirt over a t-shirt: five seconds after the hard rain started I felt rivulets against my skin. Becky, in a rain jacket, was laughing hard. We ran across four lanes of traffic, through a hotel driveway, to the car. I fumbled in my pocket for the keys.

Becky's car has barrel locks, a defense against the petty adolescent thieves that inhabit the neighborhood where she works. The key is like a Kryptonite key, a metal tube with little projections. I put it in the lock, and it didn't work. I tried again. No luck. A piece of paper had lodged in the barrel, gotten wet in my pocket, and my pressing key into lock had tamped it solidly all the way in. Becky caught up, her pace a leisurely giggling saunter. If anything, the rain was coming down harder. "There's paper stuck in the damn key," I said. She held out her hand. "Let me see."

I handed it to her. The plastic handle on the laptop box pulled through its sodden cardboard holster. The box fell into a puddle. Becky tried without success to free the wet paper in the key. "Let's go hide under the awning while I get this out."

I didn''t see an awning. "What awning?" She pointed around the corner of a building, down a decorated alley. I grabbed the laptop box and sprinted around the corner. There was no awning in the alley. At the other end, about fifty yards down, I turned another corner and found an awning twenty yards away from there.

Becky caught up again after a minute or so. She took the keychain out, took off a key and used it to dig the paper out of the barrel key. "Okay! Let's go," she said. I ran through the even harder rain back down the alley - past a four inch deep puddle that hadn't been there when we parked - got to the car, and stood stupidly waiting for Becky: she still had the key. She showed up eventually and opened the door.

I put the computer in the back seat, slid into the driver's seat and spent a minute peeling the dripping denim shirt off myself with Becky's help. The car was completely fogged even before we opened it: I cranked the engine and the defogger, and in a short few minutes the windows had cleared enough for us to see that the rain had stopped and the sun returned.

Posted by Chris Clarke at February 21, 2005 09:47 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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Very funny. Thanks for the laugh this morning - at your expense. :-)

Posted by: leslee at February 22, 2005 05:14 AM
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What is UP with this rain!?

...just had to rant a bit. There's been so much lately, it's starting to freak me out. :)

Was the computer okay?

(You'll love it; I adore mine already.)

Posted by: Rana at February 22, 2005 09:44 AM
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Ah, but the rain has been a beautiful companion these last few weeks. I love this time of year, and suffer through the sunny daze.


Posted by: Samhain at February 22, 2005 01:03 PM
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The computer was OK. (Are they supposed to have a big jagged crack up the middle of the screen? weird design call, if you ask me.)

No, seriously, it was just fine. I have bought a G5 and a 23-inch flat screen monitor from the same store, each of which fell on the ground on the way to the car. (Those two were the fault of one of the Geniuses. There's a joke in there about being paid to be a Genius and not knowing how to use a handtruck, I suppose.)

But apple does nothing well if not packaging design. (Aside from waste, that is.) You could probably drop the iBook box off a two-story building with minimal damage to the contents.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at February 22, 2005 02:31 PM
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I really love the pics you post. Besides your gifted eye for natural beauty that allows these beautiful shots, can I ask what type of camera you use ?

- Samhain

Posted by: Samhain at February 22, 2005 10:46 PM
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Aside from my gifted eye for natural beauty, I use a Nikon Coolpix 800 - which is basically a two megapixel point and shoot. I'm less than thrilled with it for close macro work like the ribes photo: It's next to impossible to gauge accurate focus. It's not a single-lens reflex, and so I either have to use the (shoddy) viiewfinder or the little LCD monitor - and something that looks sharp in that monitor can turn out to be extremely blurry in the end image.

But all that said, it's a good little camera for informal shots of bunnies and such.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at February 22, 2005 10:59 PM
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I dream of the day I can afford a SLR digital. *sigh* Until then, I guess it's up to us to figure out ways to game the cameras we have. (And the amount of gaming is ridiculous!)

Glad the computer survived. :)

Posted by: Rana at February 23, 2005 12:46 PM
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