Today Ralph and Phee took the day off to hit Olympia, so Nels and I got up, had breakfast, donned as few clothes as possible, lathered up with sunscreen, and biked an eight-mile trip in the heatwave to pick up groceries. I biked slowly, for me, as I have something wrong with my knees – especially the left one. I remind myself: I don’t have to have knees that work or get my exercise or go to the doctor or take medicine or get an xray, all I have to do is be here right now and ride the bike with care and take the time I need. I’m not doing anything else right now, just This.
On our trip – against the wind on the way there, bolstered by it on the way back, thank Jeebus – my son clings to me and talks mostly about his exploits outdoors and I enjoy the sights of the sidestreets of Aberdeen. I pass a man nodding out in the alley in a not-insubstantial pile of fast food wrappers. At first I think he is a pile of refuse until he moves in a very human way, which spooks me. A moment later I am thinking of the addicts and alcoholics who perish from exposure during extreme weather. I pass a group of brown-skinned children playing with a hose; five boys taunting a girl who with seriousness chases them down to spray them. Nels and I smile and laugh and are both secretly delighted when we get a few drops from a dashed water balloon.
At home I rest with a root beer float and then a tomato sandwich. I bake a Brooklyn-style pizza for dinner and make Ralph a Vietnamese coffee. The extreme heats of oven temperature and olive oil and kalamata olives curiously satisfy me in my kitchenspace, which I’ve learned to keep cool, or at least cooler than the out-of-doors. Despite my precautions, I am a bit sun-fazed, tired from my ride (and my knee did get worse, despite the care I took in not straining it), a little scattered. At nine o’clock we take a walk out by the bay and I limp along and our dog, happy with not one not two but three long walks today, smiles alongside our conversation, padding in the deep grass in the dark, a gliding white shape accompanying our travels to nowhere in particular.