I walked the road for the first time in my hammer-toe boot this afternoon. Cold, fresh air, sun on the green grass of the pastures, the holy oak trees wondering at the fuss. What does 2022 mean to them? Who tried to catch time and imprison it on a calendar?

But December has been a curious month, what with Christmas in Seattle (great), the snow (beautiful, after we got safely home), and the realization that Larry and I no longer have any urban mojo, whatsoever. It may have been, in my case, the incident with me, the drug dealer, and my parking space in the condo garage.

So 5 or 6 years back, we had an electric outlet installed next to my parking space in order that I could keep a charge in my little hybrid car’s battery. A month ago, our realtor noticed a car parked in my space, using the electricity to charge his beautiful Tesla. She left a note, he texted me an apology. The end. Until we arrived in Portland the following week to find the car, still in my space, still using the electricity, for which we are billed.

I sent him a quick, friendly text. “Hey, you can use the outlet, no worries, but use an extension cord, don’t park in my space.”

“Oh, sorry, I’m out of town, but will have my partner move the car. 100%.”

Next week, still in my space. “Hey, thought we had an understanding. You can use the electricity but NOT my space. Going to be really pissed if I have to park on the street because you’re camped out on my property. Who are you, anyway?”

“Sorry, I’m out of town. Won’t happen again. My car was broken into and I have to take it to the shop.”

Not sure why that’s relevant, but okay. Windows were smashed in the car. A Tesla, remember. “Sorry about your car. Bummer. Listen, maybe we can arrange to have the outlet moved so you can charge it in your own space.”

Now we’re up to last week. Larry and I drive up to Portland on Sunday and there’s the Tesla, in Larry’s space! And in my, adjoining, space, another, apparently unrelated car. Oddly, Tesla-guy is right there as we drive up. WTF? I’ll just move the Tesla, he says, gets in, and drives around the garage.

I write a note to the stranger’s car. “Don’t park here! You know this is private property. If I find you here again, I’ll have you towed.” See, I’m getting urban here, no longer Ms. Friendly, oh-go-ahead-and-use-my-electricity.

Turns out this is Mr. Tesla’s car as well. NOW HE’S USING BOTH OUR PARKING SPACES.

I write him one more text. “You can’t use our spaces. Do I have to contact management?”

He writes back: “I moved the car and I hope I never have to talk to you again.”

Don’t you love it? He’s the aggrieved party and I’m a bitch.

“Duh,” my friend Vik points out. Let’s add it up. ” Expensive car in a very ordinary city rental loft building. Broken windows. Out of town. A drug dealer, dummy.”

She’s probably right. I’m being all sweet and friendly to a drug dealer. Get an edge, Janie girl.

The following Monday, we have the day to spend in Portland. I get the bright idea to drive out to the regional shopping center for lunch at a hot, new Taiwanese restaurant. It’s the week before Christmas. A shopping center. Traffic jam for miles. What made me think we could even find a parking space, should we ever eventually even get to the shopping center?

We have lunch instead at a restaurant just down the block from our condo the Ten Barrel, a brew pub with a seat-yourself vibe. The menu’s a QR code. I don’t have a reader activated on my phone. Turns out, Larry does, but by the time we figure out how to use it, we’re not even hungry any more. Couldn’t you just write the menu on a chalk board? Burgers, fries. Simple..

Sigh. Time is passing us by, but more slowly here in the country, flock of sheep across the road, blue herons in the vernal pool, Muddy Creek at flood stage. At the moment Larry is upstairs in his “office” watching the Rose Bowl. I’m knitting a sweater for Alli. Ripping it out and knitting it again. Harder than it looks!

Anybody have any good resolutions? I do, but I think I won’t say them out loud. It’s a brand new chance to get it better, if not completely right. Yes, I know I won’t/can’t keep them, but the idea did put me to sleep last night (finally) when I wasn’t able to solve the question of why the new year starts 11 days after the solstice. I mean, new year? Time? I’ll ask my sister, Mary, the bio-physicist. I’ll get back to you.

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