There are probably more professional dancers than there are professional singers. Trish told me that tonight, and I believe her. She proposed to me that many, many more people should be instructed in the art of dance. I agree with that too. Her argument involves employment opportunities, but I am more of the opinion that we’d all benefit from being able to move fluidly with grace, poise, and balance. Most of us have to drink plenty to get there but that approach comes with its own penalties and drawbacks.

We live across from the Masonic Temple. There’s nothing too impressive or unusual about that. I lived above a Masonic Lodge when I was down south. My roommate was working on learning how to roller-blade down in the Mason’s parking lot when he lost control, ended up careening into a wall, and then pitched over it. That would have probably been bad enough — he ended up laid out on his back in the gravel — but then the wall toppled over and smashed up his face. The wall bordering the parking lot of an esoteric group of stone workers fell over onto my friend’s face. As terrible as that was for him, that has always struck me as really funny.

The grass is eight feet tall and this pattern of rain-sun-rain-sun-repeat is making it so you can sit and watch that grass grow at a rate of nearly six inches per hour. The television’s reception right now is about to drive me off of my rocker. I’ve almost had it. The local weather-person is at it again, anthropomorphizing the goddamn weather. It isn’t “good weather,” or “bad weather,” it’s just weather. Tell me the temperature; tell me if it’s going to rain. I’m not interested in the editorial comments on the weather’s relative aesthetic qualities. Anyway, we’ve had so little rain this winter, and now spring, that it’s hard for me to understand how anyone classifies dry weather as “good.” It’s California, and it’s a weird night.

I really don’t know what’s going on. My teeth ache, David Letterman is lambasting the government, and I’m drinking a wine that could generously be described as, “smells like feet.” It’s not that bad. I mean, I’ve had a lot worse. Overall I’m feeling pretty good, maybe even a five on a scale of ten.

In a roundabout way I’m trying to say “don’t mess around with the Masons.” We’re witnessing the results of going toe-to-toe with them, and it’s not pretty. We’re not directly involved —we’re smarter than that. My friend whose face got smashed didn’t sue the Masons because he’s a smart guy. Don’t poke a sleeping dog with a stick. Not everyone understands this. I’m afraid there are those of us out here that never got enough attention as a kid, and any attention we did get was negative. This makes for puzzling, drama-loving adults — the kind of people who will go ahead and poke a sleeping dog in the belly, or pick a fight with the Masons.

Bob Howard has been living, working, and writing in Northern Califonria since he moved to Chico in early 2000. In January 2011, he and his wife Trish relocated to Los Molinos, 30 minutes north of Chico, where they are the proud proprietors of the Double Happiness Farm. There they grow organic food, ornamental plants and trees, and generally work to enjoy the beauty of this great region.