Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Warning! Gusty Winds! (Newman, California)

The wind was howling. It was some freak wind coming in from Wyoming or somewhere out there, passing right through the greater Bay Area. Newman is in the San Joaquin valley -- as flat as the Mississippi Delta. With no hills, forests, mountains to block the wind, it just gusted through the little farm town, kicking up dust everywhere.

"I have a plan," announced Peahead. "You've just got to trust me."
Oh boy, here we go again.
"I'll stay here and get the Triumph running and then you won't have to tow it out of here on such a windy day. I'll drive it down to your ranch."
Good try, Peahead, but Big Dog wasn't going for it.
"Look, you go to the Triumph and at least get the steering wheel to turn. Then, get the other storage unit open. We'll see if there's anything in there we can use." Big Dog was stressed about the idea of towing the car when winds were this strong and he was all business this morning.

While Peahead was thus occupied, we managed to rent the tow dolly, hook it up to the truck, and get it to an auto service place so that they could wire it to the truck so that the turn signals on the tow dolly would sync with the truck. Then, we rattled into the storage place to get the Triumph.

Peahead had his other storage unit open, but it was also filled with junk no one would want.

"You can take anything you want," he says, but I can't see a single thing in there that I would want to drag out. "Let's just get the Triumph on the tow dolly."

The Triumph is a little too narrow for the tow dolly. It would be a trick to get it placed just right even if you were able to drive it onto the tow dolly, but absolutely miraculous that we're able to push it into place.

"Goodbye, little guy," Peahead talks to the car. He's wiping tears away.

"Okay, Peahead. This is it. I don't want to see you until you get your life together," Big Dog admonishes him, giving him $90 for bus fare back to Humboldt. I give him a big hug, but Big Dog is too broken hearted to touch Peahead. I know that for Big Dog, it's not about the money at all. He's heartbroken, seeing his old friend like this, self-destructing. the money I know it tears him up to see Pea like this, and that part of this whole exercise is to see if it won't shock him into shaping up. But Peahead seems oblivious to it all. He laughs and waves as we walk away.

"I'll be back! One day, I'll be at your door, going 'See? You were wrong about me!' Just wait!!"

I can't bear to look back and see poor Peahead. How is he going to even get to Modesto to get the bus? Will he stay in Newman tonight? Will he just go to the liquor store and use up his bus money? If I look back, I know I'll see an old man, with everything that means anything to him in his knapsack (NOT in those 2 storage units!), standing around in this deserted storage lot, wind blowing a few stray tumbleweeds around. I know it will be too much.

Big Dog can't look back, either. I think he's teary eyed behind his shades and it's not the dust that's making him so.

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