...I get my drink and I'm standing talking with Toadman over by the security guys who've opened a side door to cool down this hellishly hot theater and one of them makes a crack to me about me being a Canadian and asking if The Porcupine Tree sounded like Rush. HOW THE FUCK DO I KNOW? I'm not Canadian and does every Canadian male have to know ALL THE BANDS THAT SOUND LIKE RUSH? I mean, is this a test they give you to get a passport in Canada? Is it on their citizenship exam?
32. Please indicate which of the following American or English bands sound like Rush
a. The Porcupine Tree
c. My Chemical Jacket
d. Cradle of Filth
e. Coheed and Cambria
f. None of the above
So, I'm like steaming about being ONCE AGAIN confused for a Canadian and yeah I'm six three with long blondish hair and a beard but I wasn't, you know, wearing flannel or leashing up a fucking team of huskies or anything at the time. I even mentioned to Toadman that I was always being confused for being a Canadian and oh yeah, one of the security guys asked if I was from Edmonton. EDMONTON? What is this shit, not only can the basic Seattleite determine I'm Canadian but now they think they can assess where in Canada I'm from? I look like I'm from Edmonton?
Read it all to find out if Bobness truly is some sort of Canadian species and what sort of game he imagines would break out at a prog rock concert.
Yesterday morning, I heard the revving of a chainsaw, and I knew our neighbor behind us was about to start taking down trees again. Which is exactly what he did all day long. And I knew The Skimmer was going to start ranting and raving. And, yep, that’s exactly what he did all day long.
Up until now, I haven’t really cared that much. We’re not going to be in this house much longer and I figured it’s his property and he can do whatever he wants with it. Not that I understand why someone would buy a beautiful wooded lot in an established, park-like neighborhood and kill every tree, but I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t really care to try to understand why anyone does anything, reminding myself that I don’t even know most of the time why I do what I do. And if there’s one thing I’d like time trying to understand a little bit more, it’s that, not the complicated psyche of some tree killing stranger who has no respect for nature or for those around him and whose entire purpose seems to be making things uglier.
The house he built is ugly. His landscaping in the front is ugly. And now that he’s cut down every tree, our view is ugly. But, not as ugly as Kay’s view, our neighbor a few houses up. She stopped over here last month and said she can see him when he’s walking around in his house all hours of the day and night. Naked.
He showed up at my front door one morning a couple of weeks ago, fully clothed, in baggy jeans and t-shirt, wearing a baseball cap backwards. He wanted to know if we were the ones who called the city on him. I was on the phone and still in my pajamas and couldn’t talk to him. I just said, “No, see ya, bye.” But, if I wouldn’t have been on the phone and if I would’ve been more presentable, I would have told him that if he’s going to take down all the old oaks and maples, he should put up some blinds and curtains. But, I’m not sure he’d have seen the sense in that knowing he doesn’t have the sense not to take down all the old oaks and maples to begin with.
I figured Kay was the one who called the city on him. And she could have, a couple of weeks ago. But, I spoke with another neighbor this morning who had called the city on him months ago. Becky called this morning to ask about us trimming some branches back on a birch tree that is on our property that is dropping leaves into her gutters.
“Of course,” I said. I would never want to clutter her gutters. And then our tree talk turned to Naked Boy tree talk. She’s as fed up as The Skimmer. Because he’s changed the lay of the land, when it rains, water is now rushing onto their patio, which is right up against their house. Used to be, because of the way the land sloped, the water would rush through the center of their backyard. She called the city and found out that Naked Boy is tied in with some councilman’s aunt’s husband’s sister or something. He has connections. There was nothing they could do. So, there was nothing Becky could do.
“We’re screwed,” she said.
The Skimmer and I went outside to look at the birch that needs trimmed and then stared at the big, ugly view for awhile. The six or so trees that Naked Boy cut down yesterday left a very large, empty spot for sun to shine through onto our property that used to be completely hidden in shade. It’s a rough area where saplings grow, where we would dump leaves, where we would gather and pile large branches from trees that had fallen after a storm. It was shadowy and quiet and park-like, and now it’s just an ugly mess, made uglier by the ugly attitude of a guy who has no respect for nature or for those around him.
And now I have to clean it up. Or, call a tree guy.
Sometimes living with a teenager is tough. Like the times they think you are a loser for the way you dress, the way you smile, the way you walk, the way you talk.
The times they catch you being just the way you are at whatever time of the day or night they witness you being you.
And then sometimes, in the way they smile, in the way they talk, you see that all of that can be washed away in an instant.
I had to pick up Blue Kid from work tonight. His car’s in the shop. And he seemed to be in a mood not to totally ignore me, so I chose my words carefully.
“I talked to Seedy this morning. They’re all doing good. And guess what? She’s finally on Facebook!”
Seedy’s been my best friend for thirty years. And Blue Kid’s friend for seventeen. Whenever they’ve been together she’s made it a point to make him happy. By making him whatever food he likes to eat, by cracking jokes. By taking him seriously.
By swearing like a truck driver to impress him when he was twelve so he’d think she was cool!
She’s always gone out of her way to make him feel loved.
Not that she’s had to. It would have come naturally. She’s beautiful both inside and out. And she’s funny. And she’s real.
Complete human beings are exceptions. It is true that an overwhelming majority of educated people are fragmentary personalities and have a lot of substitutes instead of the genuine goods.
Seedy is an exception. She's got the goods, and both Blue Kid and I know it and love her for it. The world is a better place because she's in it.
When I told him tonight that she’s finally on Facebook, he grinned the cutest, most devilish grin. His eyes darted towards me and then down. He looked out the passenger window, then back at me, smiled and then said while shrugging shyly, “I’ll friend her.”
And I smiled one of those smiles I smile when I think about who I am because of her. I was filled up. They're real friends.
And! If he loves her so much and she loves me so much, I can’t be that bad. Someone as cool as she is would never hang with a total loser, right?