“Time waits for no man” – Unknown  – Time – The Chambers Brothers

Colloquialisms and mannerisms common to locations tell you a lot about a place. In South Africa the British I met there never pulled out a smoke without offering one to everyone in the group; a polite custom perfectly matching the environs. They would say “TA” for thank you, hello and goodbye. When you’d ask someone when you should expect to meet them somewhere they’d say “just now”. After a few occasions cooling my heels, I discovered this expression, when translated, meant anything but.

In Oakland when I did a construction deal it was accompanied by signed legal documents, specifications, blueprints, schematics, renderings and a verbal description in three-part harmony. Here in laid way, way, way-Back-Ville, when I asked the carpenter installing the windows on the back porch for an estimate to finish off the room, he calmly said $8,000.00 without even providing a pencil workup on the back of a napkin or telling me what it included.

In the city a nail banger can skip from job to job ripping off his customers and never run out of rubes, since an unlimited supply exists. But here if one customer gets any less than they bargained for; word spreads with the speed of a late night B.A.R.T. train. Here they say what they’ll do and do what they say. To ask for an assurance is considered bad form and will mark the inquirer as untrustworthy as what he supposed the object he was aiming at might be.

This has its advantages. When I left my new swimming trucks on the bench in front of my locker at U.C. Berkeley for 10 minutes to take a shower I found them missing when I returned. I left my gear in the shower at the gym here for two days and when I cam back it was all right where I’d left it; undisturbed and fully intact.

Deals in the city start at a certain time and are meant to end as such. Miss a deadline and damages are assigned. Here a timeline for most anything is nonexistent. “I’ll be there when I’m done here” after a while “and “not to long” are common refrains when asking for a schedule and are considered as correct a measurement as a train schedule.

Here in Whiskey (Las Vegas gambler slang for Wisconsin) trying to dial in the precise rhythms of this place would be maddening; since so far I haven’t been able to detect a pulse never mind a cadence. We’re slow but steady here, accurate and certain to be sure, but “slow down son; you ain’t in the city no more” seems to be the common, unspoken but definite refrain.

I took my chariot in for an oil change yesterday, and based upon advice from the Dealer before I left civilization, a needed cooling system flush. When I went back to retrieve my goods, Gomer Pile’s twin brother informed me no flush was needed (saving me hundreds) and that “she’s good for 40 below” and “If it gets any colder he said; let her freeze”.

Yu’all come back now; hear?


About circusinpurgatory
Nick Masesso Jr’s fictionalized short stories, poetry and prose have been published in the Starry Night Review, Elegant Thorn Review, Language and and Vagabond Press; the Battered Suitcase. His latest book “Armor of Innocence” and first book “Walking the Midway in Purgatory, a Journal” are available on-line and through bookstores.

3 Responses to Pace

  1. James Mcfarland says:

    Shock culture, great continuity, reader follows piece with a legit beginning, middle and great ending, a 9.7 rating

  2. Reblogged this on Nick Masesso, Jr..

  3. Ditto ^^^

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