Parking Meter Blues

Debra Moon

In a romantic situation, it’s fine to say, “I signed us up for a massage oil club.” Saying, “I signed us up for garbage service” is not so good. That’s one of many wry bits of advice in “The Language of Love,” one of the essays in this fun new book by Debra Moon, the author of the 2003 history Chico: Life and Times of a City of Fortune, published by Arcadia. Moon is a Chico teacher, photographer and writer whose work has appeared in numerous publications, including this newspaper and the long-defunct Chico Times. The book is a series of personal essays or vignettes written over many years and reflective of her unique and often charming sensibility. She calls it “a travelogue of my life,” and in it she draws pictures of Chico scenes as she experienced them. She writes about teaching, her children and the vicissitudes of single parenthood, about hiking to Feather Falls and why secret admirers aren’t all they’re cut out to be. My personal favorite is “The Pig Date,” which begins with the line, “One thing you should not do is offer to go see a pig with someone for a first date.” By the time I finished reading it, I was convinced.