Today is Sunday the 28th. I’m sitting out on the porch of Dave’s house. The sun is out, there’s a nice breeze blowing, and it must be in the upper 70s. From here I see mostly trees with green or yellow-green leaves, a lot of bushes, and green grass. There’s a very narrow road out front and most of the neighbors’ houses are situated where you can’t see them from here. I can smell the sun on the few fallen leaves along the road. It reminds me of the autumn that is going on up north in Minnesota. They say that most of the trees are bare around here by Christmas time, which is good. I thought I wasn’t going to have a fall this year. That smell in the air reminds me that time is still going by even though I’m in all these new places.
Having a porch is very nice. This one has no screen or railing around it; only two pillars to support its roof. They have two lawn chairs that are always out here, as they should be, ready for anybody who wants to sit outside. (But I’ve only seen them use them for putting on or taking off their shoes before walking on the carpeting inside.) I agree with the philosophy that the elimination of the porch on most modern houses is a great loss. Most of the people I’ve stayed with or visited on this trip spend a large percent of their spare time at home sitting inside with the TV on. Even if they’re not planning to watch anything in particular, the TV is turned on anyway, if just for background noise. But it seems to be very difficult for any serious, personal, or lengthy conversation to take place with such an incessant distraction on. Conversation inevitably becomes second in importance, usually occurring during the minute-and-a-half commercial breaks. On a porch, the TV is never in view, therefore not turned on. The people sitting there are then forced (whether they realize it or not) to deal with reality, inter-relate with each other, and experience a little of the great outdoors.
Wherever I end up settling, I’m going to have to make a point of having a porch, or at least a designated sitting-outside-spot.
Looking around, it feels later than it is. But that’s because we set the clocks back an hour last night. I expect it will feel strange to have it be so warm out, leaves on the trees, and get dark so early. That’s alright. I’m not complaining.
I didn’t have to reset my alarm clock though. It was running an hour slow for some reason, and had caused me to be late for work yesterday. I’d applied for work at a temporary agency on Friday and they asked me to work Saturday at a clothing store that was preparing to open in Richardson. Prompt service, even if it was just for one day.
It was just the kind of work I was looking for. Indoors, paid $4.25 an hour, and was pretty easy. There were nearly a dozen temps working there and we unloaded trucks, stacked boxes, took clothes off hangers, put them back onto other hangers, and hung them on racks. There were three other guys, and some women, most of which were black. The black women were funny to listen to; they talked all day. I tried to stick with one guy (the “comedian” of the bunch) and together we avoided a couple of nasty duties.
On the way out of the store, after 8.5 hours of “work,” I was talking with one of the white women and then I told them all that it was fun working with them (some thought that was funny). As I got in my van I was wishing I’d talked more with the one I’d walked out with. The sun had finally come out (first time in weeks around here) and I watched her walk across the parking lot. She was tall and thin, dressed nice, and, aside from her slow Texas drawl, kind of attractive. So I managed to have my van over by her car as she got to it, and I asked her if she knew when we could expect our paychecks. She said she’d just started that day also and didn’t know. When I ran out of things to say she asked if I was hungry. When I said yes, she suggested walking to a restaurant on the other side of the parking lot. We did, even though I knew I couldn’t afford it.
We ate and talked about work. She was yet another “talker” and she told me about herself. Her name was Pam and she was in about the same financial shape I was. (Down to about 15 or 20 bucks.) We talked for quite a while after we were done eating and received a few hurry-up looks from the waitress. I told Pam that I’d like to do something with her after eating, but our financial situation left us with nothing we could think of to do that didn’t cost money.