On Friday morning I started to dream again. This dream began with me in the woods at night and there were bears about me. At one time I think I approached a baby bear despite his mother being nearby and realized I was in a dream. Suddenly there was a parade of bears lumbering along a trail and they were oblivious to me. As the dream progressed I found shelter but the memory remains elusive, either because I need to exercise my oneiric muscles or it's been far too long since I woke to recall anything of note. At this moment I find myself out of my depth and unable to convey the feelings from the dream. As Steve Martin put it, "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture" and that sentiment best describes the feeling.

Let me affirm the good things that happened to me on Friday.
Went to the courthouse and before I walked in the door I realized I didn't schedule an appointment. Ocean county still insists on the public making appointments to enter the deed room in order to perform searches. Their policy has become, if you'll pardon the term, more liberal but they still insist on setting appointments because of COVID. The sheriff's officers just waved me through without checking their list. Kinda affirms the tenet of "Act like you belong. Act like you are supposed to be there. That is your ticket in." Mind you the officers recognize me as a frequent visitor to the county clerk's office and probably thought nothing of my showing up.
Took the elevator down because my knee is still healing from my injury last Tuesday. A girl I never saw before was making copies in one of the old deed rooms covering more recent deed books that are already archived online. From the moment I saw her I realized she was working with one of the older deed books. She caught my attention because she was petite, of Mediterranean extraction, and wore amazingly short shorts showing off her legs.


Went to one of the searcher rooms, set up camp, wrote out my to-do list of copies to make then began my job. First deed was in the old deed room and the girl was still struggling with her deed book.
"Need a hand?"
"I'm trying to make copies but it keeps cutting off parts of the pages."
"You a searcher or just a civilian?"
"Just a civilian."
"Let me do that for ya" and I took over. She was trying to make 1:1 photocopies from the old deed book. Funny thing is the deed book is about 11x17 but a bit bigger which is why bits of the deed were being cut off. I set the copier to reduce the page size for 8½ x 11, pumped out two copies and handed them over to her, "Better?"
"Yeah, thanks. I still can't read the handwriting." These old books are still handwritten rather than transcribed by typewriter for easier reading. The penmanship is fine but requires a little patience to read the instrument. I remember it took me a little bit to learn how to adjust and read stuff written by a person from more than a century ago, and it still requires effort on my part being spoiled with modern fonts and typography. She went ahead and began telling me why she embarked upon her own title search. In her backyard there's a log cabin with an outhouse and she wanted to know what it was all about. Her house was built sometime in the 1990s and the file map which lays out the subdivision was recorded in the 1990s. Most title searches go back 40 years, 60 years, or to the file map depending on which is the newest. With my title searching agency we need a file map to be a major subdivision, typically a neighborhood with several streets, rather than a minor subdivision, typically when someone has a piece of property which could handle two homes and the owners decide to build a second or third home by subdividing the parcel. Getting behind the file map, as far as I know, can be a pain in the ass but she had help from the girls upstairs and they put her on the right path. To me it was a remarkable feat and showed her moxie.
Whatever cash she had on her copy card ran out so I did the rest of her copies on my card. She asked how the previous owner acquired the land, probably from the state, and let her know the county only goes back to 1851. Anything older is in Monmouth county or Trenton. Her deed, book 126 and page 418, should be more than sufficient because it contained at least six tracts of land and was dated for 1889. I explained how tracts are subdivisions of a parcel and that seemed to satisfy her curiosity even though I felt like I was winging it.

She thanked me and gave me a hug.

Wish I knew what happened to the custom business cards I made years ago because I wished I had one to hand to her in case she had questions because I found her search to be interesting. Plus I could've gotten her number. This was yet another good experience from Friday.

Finished the lion's share of my work by 1:45 but I still had a son of a bitch job that I originallly planned to put off until Monday when I felt a bit mentally fresher. After a mental conversation consisting of, "You're going to be doing basically nothing all weekend in a comfortable location. Why ruin it by having Monday hanging over your head?" I decided to tackle the job. Completed a major portion of it in an hour and went to see the cats.

When I reached the house I saw that Leah's car was gone and another was in its place. I panicked thinking someone else was here to take care of the cats and might be someone I don't want to interact with for my own sanity. No one specific but their role in Leah's life could make them into that someone if that makes any sense to you, gentle reader.
So I texted Leah, then phoned her, then my mother-in-law who only said Leah's supposed to be back on Monday night. Went to park by the inlet and wait for a callbacks when I had a hunch. I phoned the local garage we patronize and one of the mechanic affirmed Leah's car was there for repairs and they left their car in its stead while they work on it.
I texted Leah that I'm a good detective and no need to return my texts nor calls.

As for the rest of my night I watched the animated science fiction anthology Love, Death, and Robots up to the episode adapting Bruce Sterling's Swarm. Ordered Chinese food which was my usual order of a General Tso's combination, steamed dumplings, and an extra eggroll then I listened to BoneQuest FM's Vangelis tribute stream.

almost forgot

My first real girlfriend Malyss reached out to me by text while I was driving to the county. I phoned her and we had a lovely chat. Apparently she's trying weed and says she doesn't see what's the big deal. I advised to sprinkle kief on her weed the next time she smokes, hold in the smoke as long as she can then she'll probably see what it really means to get fucked up. Catching up with Malyss was good and it was also good to know that I am still important to someone in this world. Later in the evening I texted my friend in Egg Harbor City, texted my friend in Matawan with "I hope your shift is going well. I am hanging in there. In fact I feel like I found a little ledge where I can sit and breathe", and sent some funny pictures/memes to Sarah just because.
Also I browsed typewriters on Craigslist because I reckon writing with one would be more productive and less distracting than typing on a computer. Goodness knows I get distracted updating inkubo.org on my laptop and often my entries are brief rather than voluminous like this one.

I have a nice little starter of a life and while it may not be a Brazilian steakhouse with rodizio, it's a comfy diner with booths big enough to accomodate me.
And it can only get better.

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