Wednesday, June 22, 2022

"Welcome to your (this is not an endorsement) journey"

 While working the fire season, I'll often end up feeling like a fly in fly out worker and my house as a hotel where I camp sometimes. The dog looks at me balefully after a twelve day stretch, the washing is not done and I'm pretty much exhausted all the time. So this season I promised to buy myself something nice every payday.

"I thought you meant like a new pair of shoes, a restaurant meal or some expensive makeup," Flame said, "but no! A toolbox, a quiet generator and a podcast recorder!" She didn't mention the leaf blower or Trangia cooking set that I unboxed in front of her - that campers' aluminium wet dream of Swedish design. Anyone who knows what I'm talking about, will know what I'm talking about here.

Anyway ... with one of my pay cheques I headed to the hardware store to buy a battery-powered leaf blower. Yeah I know not where those leaves blow but I live in a gutterless house crouched under enormous gum trees. For those of you in another hemisphere, these trees drop their leaves all year. Though not deciduous, they'll often choose big drops on threat of a storm. It's a weird phenomena seeing them do that but most of the year I'm sweeping between the veranda chairs and I was OVER it. So yes, leaf blower.

I already had a Ryobi drill set and an Ozito circular saw and hedgetrimmer. Being off grid, rechargeable tools are my friend. But the local hardware only sold Makita and Husky tools. This meant I'd have to pay to buy yet more branded batteries and their chargers. It's like buying into Microsoft. I mutter 'you fuckers' under my breath but bugger it, it's pay day. I swallowed all my frugal/sensible/anti-capitalist tendancies and paid up.

As he handed my new purchase over the counter covered in hastily sticky-taped Covid memos and free seed garlic bulbs, the store owner Struth said, "Welcome to your Makita journey Sarah!"

"You're such a wanker, Struth!" I said to him. He looked at me, hurt. It was at that moment I realised he wasn't being facetious. He was a believer. I left the store, both of us taking a look back at each other.

I went to the post office next to check for mail. It's quite often a meeting place, as there is no street letterbox delivery here. Everyone gets their mail from the post office. It's a thing. There I met the local librarian. She saw me holding the boxed leaf blower and said, "Oh wow, you've joined the Makita journey too!" She turned over the box. "Nice," she said. "My next is the skin for a chainsaw."