Today’s expensive lesson was grabbing a paid-for bottle by the flimsy cardboard box it came in. That means the bottle left the box at high speed and landed at my feet on the garage concrete floor. In the course of human events, I tire of gravity, consequence, finding out.

A closed stretch of Lincoln Street looking west from Broadway toward Main Street in downtown Walnut Creek, California on a sunny morning. To the left, an Italian restaurant called Prima is visible. Straight ahead is an indoor bookshop. At right, the Stadium pub, which usually sets up benches and umbrellas for outdoor seating beyond the big orange traffic barriers doing the street blocking thing.

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