9. Gail

While I was drawing this, or just as I was finishing, the wind picked up so much that my drawing board flew off my easel and onto the road.
As I leaned over to pick it up, a large black SUV turned into the driveway next to where I was sitting on the curb, and stopped.
I looked up at it as the window rolled down and a woman wearing aviator sunglasses and an unfriendly expression around her mouth said: Can I help you?
‘I’ve been sitting here drawing.’ I told her, pulling my earbuds out*.
‘Uh-huh.’ she said.
‘And just as I was finishing drawing that house over there,’ I said, pointing at the house I had been drawing, ‘my board flew away in the wind.’
‘Oh,’ said the woman in a semi-high pitched excited tone, ‘that’s my good friends the L****s’s house.’
Then she stuck her head out of the window to look at the L****s’s house.
‘Really!? Really!?’ said the woman in an astonished tone, as if I had just told her that a spaceship had parked on the lawn and stolen the L***s’s cat.
I was waiting for her to say something like ‘Well. I’ll be damned!’, or ‘You don’t say!’ but she asked me if I was an artist and I told her yes.
‘Do you draw or paint, or are you an artist? I asked her.
‘Yes,’ she said, and then she added, ‘amongst other things.’
I imagined she had a tidy room, maybe a conservatory, with a tiled floor and a soft rug in the back of her house where she painted and drank coffee from her Keurig.
Then she asked me what I was going to do with the drawing and I told her I’m drawing a hundred houses and then I will have an exhibition.
Then she asked me where and I told her I didn’t know where yet.
‘Let me give you my card,’ she said, ‘so you can let me know and I can tell the L***ses.’
‘Okay,’ I said and she found a card in her bag and gave it to me.
It was a shiny black card with her name on it: Gail.
The card also told me she was a realtor, which would explain her lovely house and electric garage door which she was now putting into action.
‘It was lovely to meet you,’ she said as her and the SUV slipped off down the driveway to the garage, ‘please let me know about your exhibition, the L***ises will be thrilled!’
‘I will.’ I said, standing there in the wind in my dirty hat and cheap clip-on sunglasses with my drawing board under my arm, holding Gail the artist realtor’s glossy black business card between my grubby fingers.

*Today’s podcast: Making Obama

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