Kage Baker blew off a lot of Saturdays. She had iron discipline and exemplary work habits – but she also lived with the thinnest of filters on her senses, and could be derailed by a determined sensory assault.
And Saturdays are so good at that! This one is warm, windy and clear – an ideal summer day. Mind you, it’s not summer yet – and when it is, the days will be grey and foggy and we won’t see the sun from Memorial Day to 4th of July. But as recompense, even with the insane climate changes, we get days like this. They come without warning, in any month on the calendar, and are not to be wasted. The only pretense at work I am making today is this time with you, Dear Readers.
When Kage and I were teenagers, we’d be up at dawn sometimes (Kage was, anyway; I likely had not yet been asleep) and zipping down Hollywood Boulevard on skateboards. Those glassy paving stones and brass-lined stars are superb to race over – and back then, there were neither skateboarders nor tourists enough to bother one another. We’d breakfast on pizza (25 cents a slice!) at Two Guys From Italy (fascinatingly weird; plastic grapes and empty fiascoes hanging from a ceiling made of wooden grating) and discuss in detail just how to waste a day too beautiful to spend on anything that made a lick of sense.
Though most of the world of Anvil grew out of those days … Kage worked on that nearly every day; we built the underpinnings of a universe on Hollywood Boulevard. I remember sitting in George’s – which used to be a snack stand at the corner of Hollywood and Yucca – demonstrating the orbital mechanics of a primary and satellite system to Kage with an orange and a crumpled milk carton. In reply, she designed the Children of the Sun.
Then we went off and read Andrew Lang’s coloured faerie tale books in the Ivar Library. Paragons of maturity, us.
As Walt Kelly (a god in Kage’s pantheon; more on him later) once remarked: “Break out the cigars, this life is for squirrels/We’re off to the drugstore to whistle at girls!”
Or boys. It was the whistling that mattered.