73. The Remote Box

While I was drawing this, a man wearing a white towel, frayed jeans and no shoes, approached me, holding a pair of sunglasses, a style I wouldn’t wear but that someone who enjoys snow skiing might.
‘Ma’am,’ he said, ‘you didn’t lose these, did you?’
‘No,’ I said, ‘they’re not mine,’
‘Oh,’ he said, staring at the glasses, tilting his head as if trying to work out what he was holding.
Then he held up an empty cardboard box, that looked like it might have held a television remote control, and said – ‘I was going to put them in here, ma’am, and give them back but I thought you might like them.’
I looked at the glasses again and then at the man and smiled and said thank you but no thank you.
Then the man pointed to a word in French on the empty box.
‘What does this say?’ he asked.
‘I’m not sure.’ I said as I leaned forward to get a closer look.
We both stared for a few moments at the box, trying to work out what the French meant, until the man offered me the glasses again.
I told him that he should keep the glasses because it would get very sunny and he might need them.
‘Yes’ ma’am,’ he said, ‘I guess so. Thank you.’
‘My pleasure.’ I said, and I smiled.
‘Have a good day.’ he said, putting the sunglasses in the box as he walked away.

Today’s podcast: Mortified- Jill: Dear Grandpa

72. Brightly Coloured Knitted Shawl

While I was drawing this two women walked past with their dogs: one a drooling, pony-sized creature, the other smaller and wearing a brightly coloured scarf instead of a collar.
‘You’ll always recognise my dog,’ called the woman whose dog was wearing the brightly coloured scarf, ‘it’s the best dressed animal in the neighbourhood!’
‘As are you yourself.’ said her companion, who was dressed in jeans, Ugg boots, a brightly coloured knitted shawl, and nothing else.

Today’s podcast: The Anthill Recovery Part One- The Black Death

71. Aborigines

While I was drawing this a van bearing the logo of a well-known pesticide company pulled up in front of the house, and a man got out.
The man, who was wearing a dark blue uniform and carrying a clipboard looked over at me, then back at the house, then back at me and back at the house and then called out- ‘Oh, have I parked in your way?’
Because the man had been observant, and then courteous, I responded with ‘no, I’m almost finished anyway’.
Taking our interaction as an invitation, the man crossed the road toward me.
‘What are you doing?’ he asked me, moving to my side and looking down at my drawing.
I told him about my hundred houses project, that it had taken me four years to get to 71, but that I was on a real roll now and aimed to finish in February or March or April.
‘Congratulations,’ the man said, ‘I wanna see them when they’re all done.’
I told him the website address, and then we got onto the topic of where I was from.
‘I am from Australia.’ I told the man.
‘I’ve been there,’ he said, ‘I went to Sydney for my son’s wedding.’
‘That’s nice.’ I said.
‘Yeh,’ he said, ‘he married an Aborigine.’
‘Oh?’ I say.
‘Yes, ma’am,’ said the man, ‘and I knew nothing about the Aborigines until he married one.’
‘Well,’ I said, ‘they are the original population.’
Then I gave him a short history about Australia’s history of massacring indigenous people, and how once there had been a White Australia Policy.

The man expressed no surprise.
‘They live in London, now,’ he said, ‘my son and the Australian wife.’
Then the man told me he had been born in Shanghai, but came to the US when he was 10.
‘My whole family is out there still,’ he said, ‘and I ain’t seen none of them.’
‘Oh?’ I said.
‘My grandpa married a black woman, that’s why.’ he said.
‘Oh, yeh?’ I said again.
‘He lived in San Fransisco,’ he told me, ‘they got married when they were 15.’
‘Interesting story.’ I said and he laughed and said yes it is.
‘Well,’ I said, ‘thanks for the story, but I need to get back to my drawing before the light goes.’
‘Yes, ma’am.’ the man said.
But before he left he asked me my name and I told him and then he told me his.
‘That’s my English name.’ he said, ‘But my Chinese name is Lee Lee Ching.’
‘Okay, Lee,’ I said, ‘I hope you have a good rest of your day.’
‘You too, ma’am.’ Lee said, turning and crossing the road toward the truck bearing the logo of well-known pesticide company.

Today’s podcast- Esther Perel: Before we got together I identified as gay

70. Peter Green

While I was drawing this my attention was drawn to a man two houses down taking clothes out of a duffel bag and then laying them out on the sidewalk.
After a few minutes the man waved and called out to me- ‘I’m looking around for somewhere to wash my clothes.’
The man, who was tall and bald and dressed in a green track suit, black leather jacket and large black work boots then called out again, this time asking me if I could give him something to eat.
‘Have you got anything for me to eat? he called, and I called back no, that I didn’t have anything to eat, but that I would give him 5 dollars.
I took 5 dollars from my bag and held it up and the man crossed the road toward me.
I stood up and handed him the money.
He put the money in his pocket and said thank you.
‘My name is Peter,’ he told me, ‘Peter Green.’
I told him my name and we shook hands.
‘I’m a percussionist,’ he told me, ‘and a drummer. That’s my thing,’
‘Oh, right,’ I said, ‘nice.’
‘My mother has cancer,’ he said, ‘she’s 92 years old and she’s been having chemotherapy,’
I told him that must be very sad, distressing, and then Peter Green asked me where in England I was from.
I lied and said – ‘I’m from near Oxford.’
Then he told me his mother was Welsh.
‘My mother is from Wales and my father is from Jamaica,’ said Peter Green as he rubbed his right hand over and over on the light grey stubble on his head, ‘and I am walking back and forward everyday to my see my mother while she’s getting well.’ 
He tilted his head to the side.
‘But things are going to get so much better for me,’ he said, ‘and for you too.’
I smiled at Peter Green and said ‘Okay, that would be great for both of us.’
‘Bless you,’ said Peter Green, slowly rubbing his head and waving his hand at me as he crossed the street back to his clothes laid out on the sidewalk, ‘I’ll be looking out for you’.

Today’s Podcast- 99% Invisible- Corpse, Corps, Horse and Worse

69. Suicide

While I was drawing this, a woman leading a small terrier-style dog, stopped and looked down at me.
After the inevitable explanation of what I was doing here, sitting in the street, I told her that her dog was cute, and leaned slightly forward, holding out my hand to it and making some of those sweet dog-attracting sounds people make to a dog when they want it to engage with them.
‘He’ll just ignore you.’ said the woman who was wearing a white tee shirt, chinos, bright red lipstick.
Her were arms covered with highly skilled portraiture tattoos.
‘He’s not interested in you out in public, but if you come to his home he’s all over you.’
‘I see.’ I said, giving up on the animal and straightening up, ‘So out in public he’s a snob?’
The woman laughed.
‘I like your tattoos.’ I said to the woman, pointing to a particularly excellent black and grey work of a couple: a man and a woman.
‘Those are my parents.’ she said.
Then she showed me other black and grey portraits up her arms but none were as skilled as the one of her parents.
I ask her who did it.
‘It was a woman up in Orange county,’ she said, ‘she was really good,’
Not having any black and grey work, and thinking maybe one day I might get some, I asked the woman for the tattoo artist’s number.
‘No,’ said the woman, ‘She committed suicide.’
‘Jesus!’ I say.
‘Yeh,’ said the woman rolling her arm around to show me, this time without explanation, a good, but not as good as the parents, portrait of a baby on the back of her arm, ‘she did this one too.’
‘Yeh, it was a real shame,’ said the tattooed woman, as we admired the tattoo of the baby that the tattoo artist from Orange County who had committed suicide had done.

Today’s podcast- Haileywood Episode 1: His Own Private Idaho

68. Somebody or nobody.

While I was drawing this, I looked up to see a young man young man staring down at me.
I took my headphones off.
‘Excuse me, Miss,’
‘Yes?’ I said, surprised by his use of ‘Miss’ in reference to me.
‘What’s your name?’ said the young man, who was wearing yellow ochre-coloured chinos, ochre Caterpillar boots, a red shirt with the sleeves rolled up, suspenders, a pair of white-rimmed, green-lensed sunglasses, a ponytail and a goatee
I told him my name and he told me he liked my style of drawing.
‘I really like your style of drawing,’ he said, ‘and I wondered what your name is because I might have heard of you,’
‘You wouldn’t have heard of me,’ I told him, ‘I’m not somebody,’
‘Oh, really?’ he said, ‘Well, even if you are nobody, I still love your drawing.’
I told him thank you, and noticed that in his hand he held what looked to be a script, with yellow highlights on some of the words and ‘Franco’ written across the top.
Then the young man began to tell me about himself.
He told me he is name was Joe, that he was an actor and that he had just been to a meeting at Universal and that he had been in a TV series and that he had made a film that would be coming out soon; a film in which he had a big part.
‘I’m thinking about moving out here,’ he told me, ‘to LA. But to be honest, I’m scared,’
‘Um,’ I said, ‘I can understand your fear, it’s a big change to make. But seeing you’ve already made a TV show, you’ve been in a big film, you’ve had a meeting at Universal, maybe you’re nervous about the unknown, rather than fully scared.’
Joe laughed, and cocked his head to the side.
‘Maybe you’re right,’ he said, ‘I’m not used to having people question me. You’ve made me really think.’
Then he told me the TV series had caused people to be interested in him, but interested for what he was not sure.
‘I’m not sure whether they’re interested in me for me or for me because I’m somebody’
I nodded my head and told him he’d better get used to it.
Then he asked me – ‘Do you find people just want to be with you because of who you are?’
‘No, I don’t think so’ I said, frowning thoughtfully at him, curious that he was still thinking I was a ‘somebody’.
‘Work out who you are and be that and people will want to be with you or not,’ I told him, ‘but work out who you are first.’
He rubbed his goatee and smiled a huge open-mouthed smile, and I looked straight up into his mouth and pondered how very similar this somebody’s teeth were to the teeth of all the nobodies I knew.

Today’s podcast- Bad Women: The Ripper Retold, Episode 3 Polly Walks Out

67. NASA’s logo is all over them

While I was drawing this a very tall man with curly grey hair and the largest human nose I had ever seen walked up beside me and said- ‘I’m okay today, thank you, because my Morgellan’s isn’t playing up,’
Not knowing what Morgellan’s was, I did not know how to reply so I just said ‘oh’, and then waited for him to carry on.
‘It looks like I’m a tweeker,’ he said, pointing to red spots on his face and neck, ‘but I’m not. It’s the chemtrails,’
‘See?’ he said, tilting his head backward and pointing upward.
I looked up at the sky and then back at the man who was waving his hand back and forth at the sky.
‘NASA and the Illuminati have been putting those chemtrails there for more than 40 years, and they drop down fibres and the fibres rain down and burrow into your skin,’ he said.
‘Goodness me,’ I said, staring at the mans nose, trying to think of a way I’d describe it.
‘It’s bacteria that they’re dumping on us,’ said the man, who was wearing a dark blue short sleeved shirt, knee-length brown checked shorts, red trainers and a pair of red socks with baby’s bottles embroidered on them, ‘like worms that burrow in and live in your skin,’
Still not knowing what to say, I let the man continue.
‘They drop it out of automatic planes,’ he told me, ‘planes without pilots,’
‘Like drones?’ I asked.
‘EXACTLY!’ he shouted, ‘EXACTLY!’
Then he told me that the bacteria that is dropped are like caterpillars, and that they have the NASA logo on them.
‘If you look at them under a microscope you’ll see the NASA logo.’ the man said.
‘Goodness,’ I said, squinting up at the sky, looking for falling bugs.
‘Look,’ he said, ‘go home and Google it,’
‘Okay,’ I told him, ‘I will,’
‘Promise?’ he said as he started to walk off.
I promised him I’d look it up.
‘There’s going to be a lawsuit starting in 2 weeks,’ he shouted back at me, ‘look it up,’
I waved to the man as he walked away.
‘It’s NASA and the illuminati,’ he called back to me, ‘and NASA’s logo is all over them…ALL OVER THEM!’

Today’s podcast; Swindled- The Saint (Mother Teresa)

66. It’ll take about a year

While I was drawing this a young man wearing a Trader Joe’s tee shirt passed me walking, then doubled back to ask what I was doing.
I told him about my house project.
‘So neat,’ he said, ‘so neat.’
Then, noticing the thumb brace on my left hand, he offered me up some advice.
‘If that’s for arthritis, take Turmeric.’ he said.
‘Oh,’ I said, ‘I have some Turmeric pills that I never take. I’ll start taking them.’
‘Yes,’ he said, ‘do it. I have so many skating injuries, so I take Turmeric and it really helps.’
‘Ok!’ I said, happy for his advice, and the idea of relief.
‘Yeh,’ he said, ‘it’ll take about a year, but you’ll really notice the difference.’

Today’s podcast- Land Of The Giants- How Apple got its groove back.

65. What you are doing


While I was drawing this a man in a came out of the house, down the driveway, across the street and stood in front of me.
The man, who was in a black suit, with white shirt and red tie, looked down at me and said- ‘I was watching you out of the window for a while, well, me and my wife were, and we wondered what you are doing.’
‘I’m drawing your house,’ I said, ‘for a project I am doing, drawing 100 houses.’
Then I smiled.
The man smiled too.
The man continued talking to me, but my attention was diverted by his wife, who was standing at the end of their driveway, her hand at her brow, shielding her eyes from the sun, looking over at us.
‘We’re just on our way to church.’ the man said, ‘I wonder if you will be here when we get back.’
‘No,’ I told the man, putting my iPad down on the grass and standing up.
‘I think I am about to lose the sun, and with that goes all the bright colors.’
I smiled again and the man looked up over his shoulder to the sun in the sky.
‘You’re right,’ he said, pointing sky-ward, ‘there’s a big old cloud heading this way.’
I looked up at the sky, and he was right.
‘That cloud is about to gobble up the sun.’ I said.
The man then said have a good day, and I said the same to him, and he walked away.
‘It’s nothing important, honey,’ I heard him say to his wife when he reached the other side of the street, ‘It’s just some gentleman drawing a picture of our house.’

Today’s podcast- Unravel Juanita, about Juanita Nielsen who disappeared from Sydney’s Kings Cross in 1975, never to be seen again.

64. Chasing a boy

64-sm

While I was drawing this a man in a car stopped in the middle of the street, right in front of me, leaned out of the window and said- ‘What colour would you paint that relief there up above the window on the right?’
I looked up at it.
‘I’d leave it white,’ I told him, ‘otherwise it might stand out too much.’
‘Originally it was brightly coloured so I want to paint it.’ he said.
‘Well, maybe paint it the colour of the doors and window sills.’
The man looked up toward the relief, and then back at me.
‘I really don’t know.’
‘There’s a website called kuler,’ I told him, ‘it’s an Adobe website, and you upload an image of your house and it will generate a palette of colours based on the house, and you could choose something from the palette to paint it.’
‘What was it called?’
‘Kuler,’ I said, spelling it out, ‘from Adobe, you know, the software company.’
‘Okay, thanks.’ he said, sitting there in the middle of the road, his car idling.
‘Where are you from?’ he called out to me.
I told him.
‘Thought so.’ he said, ‘My daughter’s just gone there.’
‘Nice.’ I said, ‘Where exactly?’
‘Sydney.’
‘What for?’ I asked him ‘Work?’
‘No,’ he said, ‘chasing a boy.’
Then he shook his head and laughed.
Then a woman came out of the house and got in the passenger side of the man’s car.
He turned to her.
‘She’s from Australia.’ he said.
‘Oh!’ said the woman, leaning forward.
‘Our daughter’s just gone there.’ she said, loudly.
‘I know,’ I called back, ‘she’s gone chasing a boy.’
We all laughed at that, and then we said bye and they drove off down the road and I looked at that relief above the right window and pondered what colour I would paint it.

Today’s podcast: Casefile- The Churchill Fire