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2002-09-04 10:55 p.m.

After work I was supposed to go meet Dave Marr and Kat and help them unload our Burning Man things from their truck, but a severe wind storm detained them in the relentless Nevada desert longer than planned. So, my night became free all of a sudden. The surprise gift of time felt like finding a $20 bill in my pocket—unexpected, lucky. But, I still was not quite sure how to spend it.

On the way home from work I decided to get off the freeway in Woodside. One time I remembered seeing a plaque describing an old, historic store there—some monument to a time before Woodside was full of ominous Mercedes Benz and BMW 7 Series and CEOs. I could not even imagine such a time, at least not in that place—a time when the men of Woodside bought horses as transportation and tools, and not just entertainment for their seven–year–old daughters. Could it have ever been 1850 in Woodside?

152 years ago—long before computers and CEOs—people somehow entertained themselves using buildings like these. I can not even imagine how bored they must have been.

There was no parking after 4PM at the old Woodside General Store. The old–store–turned–museum was only open from noon until 4, and only 4 days a week. Think elementary school field trip. Elementary school was a long time ago for me. These days I am not free until 5PM—so, I had to park a half mile down the road and walk. The dizzying trees and dusty vines made a nice canopy.

I looked up.

My camera dangled from my hand—it was too big to fit comfortably in my pocket. I could vaguely smell the lichen that strangled the oak trees. Walking was relaxing, grounding. A red Lotus Elan drove by, reminding me that the dominance of the trees was a façade endured by the rich simply because it is in fashion this season. At any time these ancient trees might be replaced with racks of fur–lined PDA cozies or garages full of gold–plated, twin–engined SUVs.

My tax dollars at work.

I drank almost a gallon iced tea by this time in the day. Thank god their restroom was securely locked, as well. I peed on the wall of a historic monument today.

I noticed it still smells like August here, even though it is September already. September is an in–between time. It is awkward; it is neither here–nor–there, a lot like human adolescence. September is neither childhood nor is it adulthood. It is too old to be summer; it is too young to be autumn. But this September still smells like August, and I was happy to stop and steal some breaths of August before she disappears once again.

What is it like to climb a fence? Ask the vine; ask the lichen.