Friday, October 21, 2005

Drivin' Legal

Been here in Astoria for almost a year, but the significant other, who hereafter will be designated as B, had not changed his license from CA to OR. Heavy sigh. He was working in the canneries, and they didn't care where he came from, or who he was ... they just wanted a warm and willing body. But the season is over, it's time to look for other work, and suddenly the driver's license ordeal loomed on the forefront. B studied the driver's manual assiduously, and took the two online tests, and he was READY to head out.

I have been to the Astoria DMV several times for various things, and I was usually the only person there except the clerks. Oh no, not today. As we walked in the door and took our little number ticket, like at the deli's in NY, the ticket said #64. They were currently waiting on #40. Huh? I was feeling like I was back in L.A., which is a very bad thing.

So I left B inside and went outside to chill out, have a smoke, and wait it out. Then I heard it. A leaf fell to the ground. That wonderfully wispy Fall sound. Then I noticed the sound was all around me, and the air was crisp, clear, and clean. Young's Bay was bright and reflecting the sun, and looking glorious. Suddenly the DMV ordeal was irrelevant.

I am Fall-starved. After 22 years in L.A., which has no seasons to speak of except Brown and Green, this Yankee girl is now going ga-ga over experiencing fall again. There are real trees, and they actually have leaves that change color and fall to the ground. The only time palm trees shed is when they drop a large frond, and if you are lucky, you won't get bonked on the head by it.

One fall in L.A. I was just so nutty from lack of seasonal change, I attacked a huge palm tree in my side yard. I got out an old saw, and hacked off a bunch of lower limbs. Just wore myself out, and got scratched to a bloody mess by the damn things. There was a huge pile of debris to show for my efforts, which I then stomped on and crammed into the garbage bin, cussing, swearing, and bleeding the entire time.

Walked into the house and called a pal to see if she wanted to go out for a few beers to celebrate my "fall cleaning" escapade, and she said, "Are you in the house? Have you checked your hair and clothing for recluse spiders and rat droppings?" Uh, no. Threw my shoes and all of my clothes out into the yard. Shower time.

The following years, any time I got a "fall cleaning" attack, I hired this fearless Mexican guy who shimmied up the tree, pruned it up to the top, AND hauled away all the fronds. I really don't ever want to see a friggin' palm tree again.

I digress ... back to the DMV. B got his license, and is now an official Oregonian. We celebrated in true Oregon style, and went for a long drive on the beach near the tide line. There was hardly anyone around, and with two-wheel drive, it felt like we were driving on ice. The gulls were swooping, or tearing away at hapless wriggling crabs, or just stalking around and ignoring us. The wind was crisp and clean, and it was a grand drive. What a great way to live!

Astoria Photografpix

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