I met two new neighbors last night: one human, one feline.
I was sitting on the front porch, eating chips and salsa and reading One Hundred Years of Solitude, when a scooter buzzed past the house. It turned around, buzzed past again, and honked. And again.
A fellow got off, loped down the sidewalk. I stepped down to introduce myself.
"Hi," the man said. "I'm Larry." Larry's big, friendly grin revealed he was missing four teeth in the bottom of his mouth. He shook my hand long and hard.
"Hey," said Larry. "I noticed you got some carpet sittin' out in your driveway, and I was wonderin'..."
"It's yours," I said.
He beamed. "Alright! Wow! Wait until I tell my brother. He works the swing shift, but we'll come get it in the morning. Thanks!" And he shook my hand again before loping down the sidewalk to his scooter. He pumped his fist once in the air and said, "Woohoo!"
"I only wish I'd remembered to introduce myself," I said to Kris after I'd told her the story.
"You'll see him again," she said. "It looks stormy. Let's cover the carpet so that it doesn't get wet."
After we'd covered the carpet, I went back to the porch to read.
The cats kept me company.
Simon sauntered down the walk, then up onto the porch. He didn't notice that Mortimer, the neighbor cat, was stalking him, slinking behind. Mortimer saw me, froze, and then ambled nonchalantly away, slumping in the south rose bed.
Simon saw him. He darted down the porch, sidled over, his tail puffy, and confronted the intruder. Mortimer stood, his tail puffy, and defended his ground. Simon backed down, returned to the porch. Mortimer pursued.
The cats faced each other, backs arched, tails puffed. They did not growl. They did not hiss. They stared at each other, but they did not move. Then, on some pre-determined signal, they slumped to the ground together, inches apart.
Nemo emerged from the hedges. He shook his head, wiped it with a paw. Shook his head. Shook it. Probably he was stung, or, more likely, had his first encounter with the holly that's so prevalent on this property. He saw me, and walked sort of skiddly-wumpus toward the porch. He shook his head.
And then he saw Mortimer. Mortimer saw Nemo. Mortimer stood and s-l-o-w-l-y backed down to the rose garden again. Simon greeted Nemo, and together they came up the steps, asked to be let in the house.
The kids next door squealed and squeaked as they bounced on their trampoline. The birds chirped and squawked, flitting from limb to limb. Simon — outside again — streaked across the lawn from the back of the house to the walnut tree. He stopped and looked around to be sure nobody had seen him.
The wind picked up. The sky darkened. The leaves began to rustle. The rustling turned to rattling, and then a light rain began to fall. The children's laughter turned to alarmed shrieks as they ran for cover. The rainfall intensified.
I sat on the porch, book in hand, staring out across the grey and misty evening, wishing for a nice pipe of tobacco. (I need to buy some; I'm out.) I breathed deeply, drowning myself in the scent of the freshly fallen rain.
We've not even been here a month, and it's already beginning to feel like home.
My knee is the sorest it's been in a year. All this moving, all this climbing up and down the stairs, all this mowing the lawn has put more stress on it than it's accustomed. Last night, as I was locking the outbuildings, I managed to tweak it even more so that I suffered a sharp twinge every time I took a step.
I came inside and took my final remaining vicodin.
And, as I always do after taking vicodin, I slept soundly and had lucid dreams.
This morning, I dashed off this note:
Paul and Susan,
I just woke from a very vivid dream in which I had promised Susan — for whatever reason — that I would drive down to Eugene to do your laundry today.
Susan had me phone your landlady, a woman who was very suspicious of me. When I told her who I was, she said, "Wait — I have a J.D. written down here. Is your cell number 47x.638x?" I confirmed that it was, and it freaked her out.
Then she wanted to know how big my children were. "They're cat-sized," I said, trying to be funny. She was not amused. Eventually, she agreed I could go do your laundry.
Susan then explained how to do the laundry by hand (since your home, for some reason, had no washer or dryer, and there were no laundromats convenient). I listened with a sinking heart. I've already missed a lot of work for this house, and my brothers would kill me if I missed more to go wash somebody's clothes. But I was going to do it.
Then I woke up.
Paul, Susan: I won't be washing your clothes today.
Now that I used my last pain pill, I only hope things go well on my backpacking trip later this month!
On this day at foldedspace.org
2005 — Sleep Apnea It's confirmed: I have obstructive sleep apnea.
2003 — Western Civilization Nick is prone to intellectual flights of fancy. Today he wanted to know who were the ten most influential people in the history of Western Civilization.