rapeseed and asphalt
Wednesday, September 22 2004
Sometimes when the trajectory of life experience has you down, events come along, sit on your face, and fart. Then there are other times when the opposite happens, when events compensate for the effects of other events. One tends to notice and remember instances of the former more than instances of the latter just for the sheer unfairness of it all. For me today, however, life played nice, and I had a housecall just in time to make up for the sudden absence of remote development work. A fresh round of advertising hadn't even come out yet. Actually, truth be known, I would have preferred a longer vacation.
Not that this was actually a vacation, mind you. This evening I was down in my trench again, finally applying myself to the task of painting the sub-grade part of the exposed foundation with asphalt. For some reason I imagined it wouldn't be a miserable job but of course it was. Not only did I come close to throwing up from the fumes, but I managed to get asphalt all over both hands and all down my left arm and shoulder. To make matters worse, a warm wind was blowing and the mosquitos were relentless. There was nothing I could do to defend myself. I wouldn't mind donating my blood nearly as much if mosquito bites weren't so uncomfortable. If their bites were more like those of ticks I'd let them get away with their parasitism more.
The asphalt was actually fairly easy to get off my skin. I used a trick my father taught me as kid, dissolving it with vegetable cooking oil. Instead of the cheap corn oil of my youth, however, the cheapest cooking oil in the house was organic cold-pressed canola (rapeseed) oil, which Gretchen reluctantly poured into my hands.
This evening Gretchen played host to a local poetry reading group, all of whose members are women. Gretchen is by far its youngest member. While it was going on, I mostly kept upstairs. I was still feeling kind of ill from working with the asphalt.
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