Pages

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Macon Street Stories

I'm guessing the old guy who lived on the corner finally kicked the bucket.  I noticed a big haul off dumpster in the driveway, then a couple hours later, a For Sale sign in the yard.  It's the first time that house has been up for sale in sixty years.

Fred and his wife bought it new and lived there ever since.  It's funny, because I don't think anyone --the residents especially-- consider this neighborhood the epitome of their dreams and life's work, but that's what it was for them.

In other home news, the family that lives next door is moving out.  The For Rent sign is up and they're selling off furniture cheap.  I kind of hope someone moves in relatively quick and they too speak Spanish.  I'm always getting some Evangelist knocking on my door looking for Spanish-speaking people.  I always wag my thumb north.

My other neighbor, a new guy that moved in a few months ago, is a mixed bag.  He's a pretty cool guy, not too obviously gay, and he's done a lot of work to the place.  The place had been completely vandalized while it sat empty and he's revived it.  Put in a pond and everything.

But I'm still not sure about him.  For one, his yard --not really his fault-- is all weeds, which he's let grow to full height, flower and disperse all kinds of nasty seeds every which way the wind blows.  He'll dig a pond, but do nothing about the weeds.

The junk trees I cut down earlier this year?  Green shoots are coming up.  They're already as tall as me on his side of the fence.  Next year you'll need a saw to cut them down.

And then there was the squirrel...

The little bastard, I killed him.  I confess.  I saw him in the tree, looked down the barrel of my air rifle, and I shot him.  I shot him and he flailed around and then he died.  He didn't have the decency to land on my side of the fence though, and as if to prove I really am a terrible bastard, I just left him.

Feeling the need to be not so terrible, I pointed the carcass out to my neighbor in apology.  Sorry I killed the squirrel laying in your yard.  Open the gate and I'll pick him up.

You know what he said to me?  Well, before he said anything, he looked at the lifeless body of the squirrel and went, "Awwwwww," as if death wasn't a part of life, as if it was actually a sad thing that a wire-chewing, trash-digging, disease-ridden rodent had been summarily dispatched from this fine green earth.

Then he said, "I'm a Buddhist, so....."  I think I just nodded and said sorry, and then ducked out feeling odd about the whole thing.

I mean, if you caught me at a certain time, you might have heard me describe myself as a Buddhist too, but I have since figured out that it actually requires more to be a Buddhist than some kind of belief in karma, kindness, peace, all that.  It's a belief system just like any other, a way of thinking as well as a way of life.  It's certainly possible to approach Buddhism from a new-agey non-practicing point of view, a lot of people in our culture do.

But that don't make them Buddhists.