Olivia is Chinese, born in Hawaii, now living in Manhattan NYC, but with another home in a KC suburb near to me where it seems she lives a certain portion of the year. Not any particular portion; her life is in flux as is appropriate for a lady her age, which I'm guessing is twenty-five. She is a writer and artist with distinct Los Angeles valley girl accent, acutely alert to world affairs, adorable with her genuine and inquisitive nature. My intrepid Asia the realtor was holding an open house not long ago and Olivia walked through. Now Asia has Ms. Olivia's house listed for sale and guess what .. the back deck needed a days' attention so now we're all one big happy family. It's incredible how these things work.
Today broke warm as can be for January in the flyover zone, 50s plus Fahrenheit, but the price for these sort of temps in the short days is the hideous gulf wind. Yesterday I wrangled Matt my old neighbor to help with Ms. O's deck as the wind began it's scream. He asked "so what time would you like to start?" I said "no earlier than ten. Just because the sun comes up doesn't mean a man needs to rush off to work. Civilized planning allows time for temp to rise and horrid wind to settle, in this instance." We were hard underway by a quarter past eleven.
Olivia said she made killer coffee, like extra special. Matt declined but I accepted. True to her word it was stupendous. "Cream please." "Is half and half ok?" "Yes!" The work was easy, a little of this and that, a tune up. It was a struggle to make it last as long as what it should have taken for what I charged, so we paced, taking a break to come home and grab some tools for an unexpected bit that came up, bellying up to the bowl while here just because, you know, this was a special occasion, breaking the 2017 financial cherry much sooner than most years, and me and Matty like to stay happy at all times regardless of circumstance.
Olivia texted and said she was buying us pizza. But she had a showing of the house at four and we all needed to be gone. Perfect! So we finished up fixing the steps which were twelve feet from the ground. From an eight foot step ladder. Matt held it for me, the ladder, because if I fall off that motherfucker at this age my financial viability falls to zero for the season, if not forever. My bones have lost elasticity over the years, and I'm pain averse by nature anyway.
Matthew my helper and pal was wearing Carrhart overalls, old ones, effective still in their purpose and function, but looking hayseed and holy as can be, especially when combined with his moon pie farmer's face which just kind of happens to some people from living around here for too long. He was born in Silicon Valley, moved at a young age to backwoods Quaker Pennsylvania, then somehow landed in Baldwin Kansas, now living right up in the jungle of south KC, where as I said, we met, me and Asia having moved in directly adjacent now four years ago. He played football defensive lineman in high school, winning a state championship even, but at the cost of multiple brain injuries. Once as a young man he found himself with his toe on the triggers of a shotgun, both barrels in his mouth, due to complications from having his bell rung too loudly too many times, he says. Needless to say, he didn't do it, his life saved barely by Jesus marijuana. But ... he's a conservative and no longer likes Meryl Streep.
Olivia came to the street as we were leaving to say buh bye and all. Without really intending to, I started interviewing her, as is my wont. I am fascinated by people that are different, perspective fresh, people that have not only been to New York but live there part time, for one. Born in Hawaii. Maybe she knew Obama. The only stupid question is the question you don't ask, I was once told. So we learned all about New York City, the short version, still fascinating. Apparently there are eight million souls in those five boroughs, and that's just the humans. She once lived in Germany too. Is totally liberal, of course.
Olivia interviewed us too, saying that to the rest of the world at large, the USA is regarded as generally stupid, and not that we needed any help in that regard, but then we elected Donald Trump as president. Matt winced. She had overheard us arguing about him and Meryl. She asked about the guns then, our pride and shame. One question, directed at Matt, "what if nobody had guns ... none?" He explained some second amendment frontier justice hooha, but agreed that IF they were actually ALL gone, the guns, he'd be ok with that, but as it is he just purchased a Smith and Wesson magnum, as is our right, because only the good citizens would give up their guns voluntarily, leaving just the outlaws packing, and us with dicks for thumbs. "For what" she queried? "Self defense .. from shitty neighbors aplenty, and if it comes to it, THE MAN. No longer a problem there, for the moment at least" he said with an exhale, "but if Hillary would have won it would have been the WO MAN and we'd be genuinely at risk."
"I've heard of people like you" Olivia said with a tilt of her head and the look of someone in a certain state of awe, "but never seen one in person. What is that .. thing .. you're wearing by the way?" Then she invited us to dinner sometime, with Asia also, needless to say. She loves my Asia. "And Matt, I won't mind if you bring your guns."