05 August 2021

Green Cube

 Getting to know my neighbors is a habit from childhood. It seems to have fallen out of fashion with the younger generations but I feel it's important to know your community. You never know when a neighbor will need assistance, like suffering a stroke and end up alone, yelling for help for two days from their bed. Yes, that's happened. 

Perhaps it is old school manners but its a warming thought to perhaps borrow an egg, or help get groceries for a family down with covid, or keep neighborhood watch. Yes, that's happened, too. Community is a rare find, but the memory of block parties and a billion neighbor kids in your backyard seems to fade away with the years when busy-ness and detachment appear to be more of the norm. Pandemics don't help either.

I like to sit outside and work online. Load up on vitamin D and pet the doggos of passersby. I used to sit on my back patio but a Y2K like freezer now resides in my porch haven and it appears my herb garden is now rivaling a McCormick warehouse operation.

On a side note, even if you are a brown-thumbed individual, I recommend buying an herb plant for $2 to $3. This is fool-proof. Keep it alive, your brown thumb is officially green now and you have fresh herbs. Go you! If you kill it, you now have dried herbs and you still paid a fraction of what the supermarket offers. I don't see a downside to this. Back to the patio...

I've gotten to know some neighbors by hanging out on my two story patio. Etta (not really her name but just go with it) lived across from us and would BBQ on her patio 3 to 4 times a week. The smell was heavenly and we talked about our kids. Her ex. My grades, when I was at a local college. Her very cool job tallying and reporting box office movie ticket sales. How living with lupus had its ups and downs. Most importantly, when I was coming over for dinner. Did I mention the BBQ?

Etta moved away and I met Vladamir, the new tenant in her old place. Again, that is not his name, but he is from Russia, so? I only learned about him and his family after an icy snowfall where he appeared on his patio in a t-shirt and shorts asking about the pool. I lied. He didn't really ask about the pool. 

He did tell me he was surprised at the snowfall and it reminded him of home. Then came the incident where he hit my parked car late one night and told me the next morning, not realizing he hit my van. How do you not know? I think he may or may not have been loaded on the sauce. Judging from our neighborly patio convos, this seems to be a logical conclusion. Not to worry either way. We were neighbors. He had insurance.

Once my patio was overtaken by my homesteading, I found a new perch last year, a little green utility box near the carports. It appears to be a safe perch. I have now christened this my Green Cube. I should probably name it something cool. I'm up for suggestions. Situated near the sidewalk and down a bit on a hill to give a nice low view of the side street. It is also covered by trees and graffiti, so I found it appropriate to set my 48 year old butt directly on the graffiti-ed side. Take that, gangsters. Middle aged lady sitting on your tag. On my cube. 

It hums. I'm sure its fine.

Of note: I will not share this tag which is a real prison gang symbol. What the heck. Now that I have camped out here for a few months, I'm going to be buying paint soon.

I'm enjoying my time on my cube and have met some great people.

Ron and his wife, Lauren. They've been married for 45 years. He fought in Korea. He has great stories.

Mr DJ who walks his black fluffy doggo, Shadow. Shadow was attacked by a pittie when he was a young pup. As a result, Shadow doesn't like other doggos but loves people. Shadow is a King Cocker Spaniel and Chihuahua mix. Mr DJ has disc jockeyed for many different radio stations. He likes country. His wife is a retired nurse.

Karaoke Man is known around town. He lives nearby and bikes everywhere. He turns up the juice on the amp and sings to soft hits and Motown from the 70s. Everyone knows our city's celebrity busker.

Paul lives nearby. He drives a green Kia and his wife is a pack rat. He does have a WWI Russian helmet for the low price of $600. Paul reenacts Civil War battlefields. Full dress. He plays a Confederate but he said he's not racist. It was only because they needed more Confederates and the uniforms were a lot cheaper. He also has three ex wives but now he goes to church and is happily married. He is pretty funny and his dog is very sweet. Paul will be moving by the end of the month. He is happy his new townhouse has all new appliances. 

TDG, Tall Distinguished Gentleman, walks every evening. He struts on by in a walk-jog and says ritual hellos with a trademark smile, and "have a great evening" in passing. I love his accent. It sounds almost Afrikaans or Dutch to me. 

The Lady with the Red hat. Immaculate nails, makeup, and red lipstick. Coiffed, platinum hair and smile. She never walks with anyone else but has a great hat.

Teenage Drama Boy. Shuffles by with his wiener dog. He has never looked up once and said hello. Face in the phone. 

Janet wears nothing but athletic wear. Cool shoes. She also has a friendly hello. Her Siberian Husky, "Avalanche" has places to go, things to do. Byeeeee....

Lastly, there is Rob. Rob is near and dear to me because he is outgoing, chillin like a villian, and usually stops to show me the crowned jewels of dumpster diving expeditions. He has mad skills. Rob reminds me of a surfer dude, Keanu Reeves or the Turtle Dad in Finding Nemo. A few snippets should tell you a lot about Rob.

"I live down the road..a have a totally nice house. My parents own a ton so they let me live in this one."

"I'm so off the grid. I hate cell phones. Haven't owned one in years."

"I only go to the clean dumpsters. No needles in this area. I quit that shit 20 years ago."

I asked what did he do for work, "I am a maaaan of leisure. My biggest decision is which of four bathroom I'm going to use in the morning." He nods, as if in agreement with himself.

Rob carefully opens the plastic bag to show me his newly acquired goods, "If its clothes in a garbage bag, its always clean."

Modeling a white table runner with blue stripes on the ends, "Look, I'm Jewish! I'm not really Jewish, but if I was I'd look bitchin." 

Pulls out one curtain panel, "ooh, a prayer rug!" Rob proceeded to lay this out on the side walk, kneel, face plant, and stick his rear in the air. "Like this?" 

I stifled a laugh.

"So Rob, did you grow up around here?"

"I graduated in Portland. '92. I've done okay with myself."

Switching gears, Cali Boy is excited. "OOOH, I have a uniform now." Holds up full Subway uniform. Pulls on the T-shirt over his clothes and yanks on the hat. He's animated now. He grabs the jean jacket out of bag, "Duude. And a coat! I look rad, don't I?" Strutting ensues. He is couched somewhere between drunk chicken and a Monty Python sketch.

"Oh, and these aren't used, but..." Point Break looks dead serious and holds up a clear industrial plastic bag of unused Depends, "You know of anyone who has a diaper fetish?"

"Nooo?" I say, while trying not to laugh, "Can't say that I do."

His face relays all the seriousness of death and taxes, "Well, these are going back.." as he bolts across the street to return some item to an oversized apartment dumpster.

I find him hilarious. Sometimes I see him drive by and wave to him in his beater Expedition haphazardly overfilled with cardboard, garbage sacks, and other questionable detritus.  

Neighbors are an oddity. I don't really have any initial connection to them except I live closely. The rest is up to me to foster good relations, or not, and from the best vantage. My little green cube.

~Bee does her best work outside.
Listening to The Search by NF

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"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words."

~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe