Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My Best Buddies

I boxed a few things for the move; the rest I threw into super-stretchy garbage bags. Moving into the trailer now, I kind of feel like I am hauling load after load of trash into my place, which is not how I want to feel. The previous owners left enough trash in the backyard to fill a Wal-Mart dumpster, and I'm going to have to clean it up. At the minimum, I want the inside to feel clean and not like there is a recliner piled high with unpackaged, soggy dog food in the living room.

But after forcing the oversized boxes through the door, vacuuming the Kibbles out of the creases in the recliner, and finding about twenty lost Nalgenes in a sea of clothes and hiking gear (Nalgenes I thought the universe had stolen from me and returned to the rightful owners, since I seem to collect them from other people’s houses), I thought I deserved a break.

I grabbed a Bud Light and a book, pushed my way through a newly-formed wall of spider webs on the front porch, and headed for the blue lawnchair in the front yard.

Shortly after I sat down I saw two guys walking down the road sipping Bud Lights. My first neighbors! I will meet them! We will converse! And that conversation will be my first contribution to the community! I got up and shook their hands and tried to establish common ground by complimenting their choice of beverage.

“Drinkin’ Bud Light, eh? My friends criticize it, but that’s because they’re beer snobs. They say Bud Light is like making love in a canoe – "fucking close to water" - and when they go to restaurants they order micro-brews made on the premises. But Bud Light goes down easy, and I like the new logo and clear label," I said, taking a drink. "You can hardly tell it's there. Yeah, this is good stuff," I continued. "So, um, what do you guys do?”

“We go to school at Mason High,” one of them said.

They're in high school, I thought. Ha! I had no idea! “So you’re like, what," I asked, "sophomores or juniors? Maybe seniors?”

“Juniors,” the other one said, "and what do you do? Where are your parents? Are they home now?”

They think I'm in high school! Ha! I know what they're doing.

“My parents are away,” I said, “and they probably won’t come back for awhile. I’ve got the place to myself – six acres and four empty buildings, although not all in good condition. The realtor called them ‘woodland cabins,’ but I think ‘rotted plywood shacks with sporadic tin siding’ might have been a more appropriate label. But hey, some activities only require a roof, right?”

They laughed. “Really?," one asked. "You've got all that? And no parents around?”

“Yeah,” I said. “My parents have been away a long time. Almost a decade. They kicked me out when I was eighteen and made me go to college, where I majored in Secondary Education and eventually got hired to teach freshmen to read and write."

“Shit,” the first one said, as they dropped their beers. “You teach?”
“All the time,” I said, "even in the summer."

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