Tag Archives: malibu. carving

March 5, 2015


Yesterday, Debbie and I had a meeting at Malibu High with Henry and some of his teachers. We took two cars so I could surf for a bit before the meeting. The water was warm and clear. The sun was out and it didn’t seem fair especially since Sam told me it was 18 degrees below zero with the wind chill in Grinell this morning.

While driving home, my Volvo sputtered and back fired up a hill with with one last push and came to rest at 25000 Pacific Coast Highway. I checked under the hood. The water and oil levels looked good, all the hoses seemed to be connected, and no smoke was billowing so I went back into the car and turned the key but the engine wouldn’t turn over.

I called AAA, felt old as the dispatcher thanked me for 35 years of membership and said a tow truck would be there in an hour. After 1 1/2 hrs of sitting in my car listening to an audio book checked out from the library and practically finishing carving an egg from a piece of wood I got up and stretched my legs. It was a clear day, the wind was offshore and through some kudzu crawling up a wrought iron gate I could make out Catalina. The wood I was carving was reportedly reclaimed from the football bleachers at Stanford University years ago. The bleachers were made from trees grown and milled from Leland Stanford’s personal grove of Port Orford cedars. The smell of the wood in my hand was good and strong and it blended nicely with the smell of eucalyptus and wild coastal anise.

When the tow truck driver finally arrived and put my car on the flat bed,  I was sitting up high next to him in the cab he apologized that he hadn’t taken a shower and that he might smell. I didn’t smell anything and I thought to myself what the hell was a guy who tows cars supposed to smell like anyways? The driver told me he just moved back to Oxnard from Seattle where he was apprenticing with his uncle who was a cobbler. His uncle had a successful shoe repair business and he learned the trade from him but moved back here after his uncle died of lung cancer. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw my car perched on top of the tow truck with my longboard strapped to the roof like the space shuttle strapped to a 747.


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