I was held up on the way to work by a road crew repainting the white lines at the intersection of 17th and Folsom. There was a slender, beautiful boy pushing the paint machine on a trolley. It had a big tank dripping white paint and a complicated apparatus for making the line wide and clearly defined on the asphalt. I was just thinking that it looked like a fragile piece of machinery, when my young beauty gave it an almighty kick.

Behind him came an entourage, all in their emergency-orange vests: the first scattered some kind of powder on the wet paint; the second wielded a sort of leaf-blower to help it dry; and the third gestured helpfully, if cryptically, at the waiting traffic. It only took them about three minutes to finish my side of the intersection, the east, which was the last. As I drove through they were packing up the paint machine. It all seemed hyperefficient to me, except for the cryptic gestures. I wonder how many intersections they can repaint in a day?

In other thoughts, I’ve got Yo-Yo Ma’s CD of the Bach cello concertos on high rotation in the car stereo. I will ever bless the name of Miss Emily Brayshaw for recommending these. I’m onto my second CD set, because I scratched the crap out of the first lot by having them floating around Wim the Volkswagen for a year and a half. Hedwig the wonder car’s CD changer ought to help this lot escape the same fate.

The first lot weren’t by Yo-Yo. I think it was the Naxos set, something very generic anyway, and it was a very dry, precise performance, which I loved: cold and academic, my kind of music. So much so that I thought Yo-Yo was a bit sloppy and sentimental and Pablo Casals-y when I started listening to these.

I was wrong. He’s not. He really knows how to play cello, that Mr Ma.

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