It’s me.  I am a weird neighbor magnet.  Wherever I go, there they are.  The child next door — either the ten year old or the 45 year old — is a die-hard Jackson Five fan and I have been listening to, “One More Chance,” nightly for two weeks.  If you see me sporting a polyester blouse and matching headband, teased hair, platform shoes and striped bell-bottom jeans, you’ll know I went off the deep end.

I’ll Take That As a “No”

A girl-child climbed the three flights of stairs to my apartment on Monday afternoon. She knocked on the storm door and tried to peer through the screen into the house. I stood up from the couch and said hello, startling her. She hadn’t noticed me sitting there.

I walked to the door and asked, “What can I do for you?”

She looked up at me through the screen. Judging by her size, her cunning and her complete lack of guile, I’d say she was about 8 years old. She asked, “Would you like to buy a candy bar?”

I looked down. She had a Nature Valley granola bar in her hands. I was curious. “How much?” I asked.

She said, “Three dollars.”

I said, “Whoa! That’s a lot of money. So, why are you selling the granola bar?”

She looked at me like I was nuts. “For money!”

“Yes,” I agreed. “But is it for something at school or at church?”

She looked confused. “No,” she said.

I decided to try again. “Where did you get the candy bar?” I asked.

“The kitchen,” she answered.

“Hmmm,” I said. “And does your mom know what you’re up to?”

Her eyes grew big and her mouth dropped open. “I gotta go now!” She shouted over her shoulder while clattering down the stairs.

A Dog’s Business

It is 9 AM on just another sunny morning in the Manoa Valley of Honolulu.
On a quiet suburban street, a woman is walking her dog.  They are crossing the driveway to an apartment complex when, without breaking stride, the dog drops his business on the pavement.  Smack in the middle of the driveway.

Now, as anyone who has walked a dog surely knows, this is unusual.  The average Snoopy just doesn’t do no. 2 any old place.  The forms must be obeyed.  Prospective sites must be sniffed out, and it simply is not acceptable, except in dire emergency, to dump on the first possible site.  Then, after the ritual of picking a place is completed, there is the rite of posture.  The Tao of Turd.  The feet placed … so.  The back arched, just this way …  And then, of course, the pile must be inspected before it is left for discovery by the next unsuspecting pair of suede pumps.

It’s either a very strange dog or a very headstrong and inattentive owner that will short-circuit all this ritual, so that the dog will unceremoniously drop his business in the middle of the driveway of an apartment complex in suburban Honolulu.  But, evidently the woman knows her dog.  Looks like they’ve been at this awhile.  She immediately stops, heels the dog, reaches into her purse and pulls out the baggie into which she will scoop the offending objects.

Along comes a car.  A nice, middle-sized, middle-class car, driven by what appears to be a nice, middle-sized, middle-class woman.  And it’s headed for the apartment complex.  Now, it’s a quiet, suburban street, and there aren’t any other cars about.  Moreover, it’s 9 o’clock in the morning, and the apartments are inhabited entirely by Ph.D.-holding faculty and staff at the University of Hawai’i.  One would think that the driver would observe the predicament of the woman and the dog and either wait or go around – it’s a double driveway.  Those in need of haste would be the ones leaving the complex, no?  But this car means to get down that driveway.  Now.  The driver hardly slows down as she turns, practically plowing over the woman and her dog.

Yep.  You guessed it.  Left rear tire.  Put away the baggie, honey, you won’t be needing it now.  Just as well that the complex doesn’t have enclosed garages.

Y’know, I have been seeing an awful lot of rainbows lately.  Like as if God’s trying to remind God’s self of something.  I can almost hear God counting.

“... eight … nine … nine and a half … nine and three-quarters … nine and seven-eights …

Meanwhile, the cockroaches are carrying on at the foot of the celestial throne.

“Hey, Jah!  Is it Armageddon yet?  Can we take over now?  Huh?  Huh?  Pleeeeeeze?

– O Ceallaigh
Copyright © 2007 Felloffatruck Publications. All wrongs deplored.
All opinions are mine as a private citizen.

Still Human

So much for being the heart and hands of Jesus (see previous post). You’ve all heard tales of the drunk neighbor I take shopping. Well, since she moved last January, technically she is only my neighbor in the biblical sense, but I have still been taking her shopping once each week on Saturdays.

Usually, I try to pick her up immediately after Sidewalk, so she hasn’t had a chance to drink much. Today she had an appointment with the dog groomer — who comes to her — so I couldn’t pick her up until 1:30. She stepped into my car smelling so strongly of alcohol that my eyes burned and I had to open my windows. Then she started to rant.

Her dog groomer won’t be coming to groom her dogs anymore. It is just too expensive for her to maintain the dog van now that she has her own store — on the other side of town — and J is the only dog owner she still travels to see. J was going on about how inconsiderate and ungrateful the woman is (despite the fact that she has been traveling for only J since last October). After all, J. has been her faithful customer for the last 5 years, and it doesn’t seem like such a big thing to drive across town for a couple of hours every three weeks …..

I point out that the van is an expensive piece of equipment, and the insurance, gas, maintenance, etc. is probably more then what she makes from J’s business. J said, “That’s besides the point.” I asked, “What is the point?” J says, “She should keep coming as long as I need her!” Then she starts crying — great drunken wails — and goes on about how she is the only dog groomer her dogs have ever known, and how they were crying and begging the woman to keep coming back …

That’s where I abandoned Jesus. I snapped, “Oh, please! Like the dogs know she won’t be back!” J flipped. She screamed at me that they did know. That they were hysterical (yes, if she was hysterical, they likely were). And that poor little Buddy was sobbing and pleading.

At that point I flipped into the right turn lane. There was no way I was going shopping with this woman. As I started to turn the corner she screamed, “That’s it. You’re going to take me back home aren’t you? Well that’s just fine with me. I’ve had it with you! Let me out here, I’ll walk.” I said, “I’m not going to let you walk.” Then I stupidly stated the obvious, “You’re drunk. ”

She started screaming about how she was not drunk and how she hadn’t even had a drink yet. I snapped, “Right. You reek of Jack Daniels.” Then she really flipped. “I don’t drink Jack Daniels! I have never had a drink of Jack Daniels in my life!”

I said, despite the little voice in the back of my head now insisting that I shut up, “Well, whatever the hell it is you buy a fifth of every week — it stinks!” Then she screamed at me that it’s Jim Beam, and I am a fucking idiot of I can’t tell the difference between Jim Beam and Jack Daniels. That’s when I pulled the car over to the curb and suggested she go ahead and walk the last half block.

As she stepped from the car she said that she was finished doing me favors and I wasn’t to call her the next time I wanted somebody to go grocery shopping with. Oh gee. It’ll be hard, but I’m sure I’ll struggle by.