From the crow’s nest, you look onto the silver rooftops of downtown Chico. And you can see sights you are not afforded from ground level. For instance, looking north to Third Street, on the building that houses Fleet Feet Sports, you can see above the blue awning the hand-painted letters I.O.O.F, which stand for the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. To the south you can see all the way to the Neal Road landfill—maybe that’s not very exciting, but it’s pretty far—and to the east Highway 32 snakes up the foothills to Forest Ranch. Look for the place to be done by December or January. Thanks again for the tour, Wayne. Sorry about your head.
Here’s the type of neighborhood I live in: The ice cream man drives around with the speakers of his little blue truck blaring “Turkey in the Straw,” while a lit cigarette dangles from his lower lip. Even with the tasty cargo he carries, the neighborhood children are frightened when he comes wheeling into the area. Instead of running out to the sidewalks, squealing in delight, they run to their rooms and hide under their beds. The neighbor’s car, a nondescript, off-white American-made sedan from the late 1980s, sits in front of my house for weeks at a time; cobwebs form between the tires and the pavement. When it does move, it leaves behind great pools of dripped oil. The vehicle was last registered in July 2002. In my neighborhood, backyards are protected not by fences, but by snarling dogs that have some pit bull breeding in their backgrounds. They wear spiked collars attached to chains with weak links that could snap at any moment, and their owners stay up late into the evenings working in their garages on God knows what. In some yards, there are bicycles in various stages of decay, their disengaged parts spread out like the aftermath of a plane crash. In other yards, lawnmowers sit frozen in place where they either ran of gas or their two-stroke engines seized from lack of oil; they are partially hidden by the tall grass they were designed to cut. The mail carrier refuses to deliver in my neighborhood, choosing to simply dump the load of letters, catalogues and foreclosure statements in a pile on the sidewalk, leaving it for the residents to sort and pick through. That’s the kind of neighborhood I live in. Disclaimer: Not all of the above is true. Some of the details have been fabricated. If this fictional description resembles a real Chico neighborhood, it is purely by coincidence.