img_42745-e1536635255514.jpgYesterday, just as I walked out the front door for an urban hike, a woman in a blue shirt came walking down the street from the west end. She was sobbing into her phone,  “I’ve been trying to make it work for two years . . .  for two years . . . two years.”

From the same direction, a blue truck approached slowly. I think, “Uh oh. Domestic violence.” I think about how I will intervene. No brainer: I will call the Homer Police Department because they pay attention to calls, and they get some doozies. They even dispatched officers when my next-door neighbor called to report the mid-day intrusion of a young man whose remote control plane was stuck in her spruce tree. I like to think it was to protect him more than it was the tree.

The truck stopped. The driver looked out the window—at me—and said, “I have two flat tires. Can I park in your driveway until I get a pump at O’Reilly’s?” I figured that he wasn’t the cause of the woman’s woes—he had his own—so I said sure and offered him a ride down the hill. The woman moved on.

The man told me his name, said he had hitchhiked from Seward, where he’d been fishing all summer. He must have bought the truck sight unseen. “It was a real good deal,” he said, “but I hate that kind of tires.” They were the ones on rims that you can see through, like a chariot.

He said, “You have an accent.” . I said, “I don’t. Other people do.” I refrained from carrying on about that, the whole hillbilly thing, because just a few minutes before I was in suspicious mode, which does not come naturally to me.

He said, “I’ll be gone out of your driveway by the time you get home unless you want to give me a ride back.” I said no and drove to Bishops Beach. Blue water, blue mountains, brilliant blue sky (that color again and again). Augustine, that cute little volcano, was a pale blue hump barely visible way out in Cook Inlet. The truck was gone when I got home.

Who knows what boils red inside a volcano, or in a neighbor’s life?