Friday, August 27, 2010


Alone at coffee this afternoon, reading the New Yorker, when a young Black couple stopped at my table. "You know who you look like," the man asked?

What could I say?

"Clint Eastwood," he said. Which was both amusing and flattering. "That's right," he insisted, Clint Eastwood."

So I admitted, "Years ago, I used to hear that. Now that we're old, I guess I'll hear it some again."

"Do you know Clint Eastwood," he asked?

"I did. Back in the day." (Catchy little phrase, that.)

"Was he a nice guy?"

"Oh, yes," I assured him. "A very nice guy."

"I'd really like to meet him. Do you know where he lives?"

"Up northern California. I don't know exactly where."

"Would he talk to me if I met him?"

"I'm sure he would, just hanging out like he does."

"I'd like to be his friend. I would be a good friend to Clint Eastwood."

I smiled and nodded and wished him and his ladyfriend good luck and a good day as I returned to my magazine. I have no doubt that, somehow, I had made his day.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hot Wheelin'

My Trooper transmission shift control started flaking out on me yesterday. I pulled in to an Asian car specialist but he couldn't even begin to pin point the problem and suggested I try my regular mechanic, who might have better diagnostic equipment. I took it there, but John didn't want to work on it and sent me directly to the shop that does all his transmission work.

That specialist had diagnostic equipment that identified the problem as voltage, not transmission, and suggested I take it to my battery place for testing and replacement. I drove to my Sears Auto Center in Santa Monica, only to find a large, graded vacant lot in its place. A couple phones calls lead me to a distant Sears, almost fully hidden in a canyon adjacent to a large shopping center.

When I finally located the service department, the battery testing technician informed me that the battery tested good and there was nothing he can do to correct the shift problem and I'd best go back to my regular mechanic.

Manually shifting roughly through the gears and frequently re-starting a car that is alternately overcharging and stalling in traffic, I manuevered back to my regular mechanic, stopping once to re-fuel my now running-on-empty tank.

When I pulled in again, John looked at me with some discomfort and definite disappointment. This was obviously not a vehicle he had hoped to see again. Nonetheless, I set the key on his counter with finality, collected my dog, and hurried home for quick dip into an icy martini.

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