It’s a cold, rainy day here today. The kind of weather we live for.
I know that sounds odd. Don’t most people like warm sunshine?
Yes. And I like warm and sunny as much as the next person. But when you get 330 days a year of warm and sunny and perfect blue skies, well, you get bored.
You just sort of crave any kind of change in the weather. A single cloud floats by and people are stopping traffic and shooting photos with their phones from their car windows.
So when it finally rains it’s just such a calm release and a massive relief. A break in the relentless monotony that bears down day after day.
And that says nothing about the tranquility the sound of rain tapping the window brings while you sip hot tea.
So we just soaked it in today.
At some point, during a pause in the rain, I decided to grab the LX3 and shoot a few macros in the yard.
I’m walking around the front of my house in my green, plaid pajamas and a sweatshirt sticking my camera into the bushes and crouching down at the curb taking photos of leaves in the gutter.
Might as well have been out in front of a single-wide coach with a washing machine on the porch and a barking doberman pincher on a chain in the yard.
I notice my neighbor directly across the street has his garage open. He’s not out front but there’s a large deep-fryer, the type you’d use for a Thanksgiving turkey, on the curb with sign on it. “Free” it says.
Further down the curb is a wooden rocking chair with a sign on it. “$20” it says.
There were no junk cars in the yard, but there may as well have been.
My neighbor, Clem (not his real name) with his improvised rummage sale, and me, crawling around on the sidewalk in my underwear, have unconsciously combined forces to take home values on our usually well-manicured street, down 15-20 points, temporarily.
As I’m down on my knees, getting my green jammies wet and the Lumix down to sidewalk level, my neighbor Clem calls out.
“Hey Tom, how are you doing?”
Strange he didn’t ask WHAT are you doing.
“Good Clem, how are you?”
We start chatting about the rain, the upcoming holidays, the brand-new deep-fryer he just bought, the fact that he’s going to turn 68 next month and how he’s going to retire next year, but not with a big enough fund to hold him over. In fact, he tells me, he’ll be relying on his social security.
“And to think the Democrats are trying to take that away from us,” he says.
I’m nothing if I’m not stupefied by that statement.
Not because I’m a staunch Democrat or a bleeding-heart-liberal-socialist. Or a radical. Or an anarchist. Or advocate of death panels.
I’m stupefied that there are people on this planet, on my street, using the same air as I am, that actually think this could be true in any fantasy that even Glenn Beck could dream up.
After a long pause, as hard as I try I can’t contain myself and just reply, “That’s bullshit.”
Immediately realizing that the word bullshit, mentioned in response to something he just said, hit him like huge tax increase I follow with, “We’re just not going to talk about politics. Let’s not talk about politics.”
“Yeah right,” he says. “Let’s not talk about politics.”
Another long pause.
“But didn’t you hear about that? he asks.”
“No, Clem,” I said finally, “I didn’t hear that. In fact, that’s preposterous. If any party would even dream of such an idea it would be the Republicans. Remember, it was Bush who wanted to take the whole system and privatize it by putting the entire fund into the stock market.”
“Ah, well, uh, yeah, we’re obviously on opposite ends of the, the … let’s not talk about politics,” he says adding, “At least we live in a free country and we elect our government and we don’t have somebody just taking over and … we have freedom.”
“Yeah, yeah, that’s a good thing,” I said, sensing that the conversation had just been hit by a bus and that there would be no recovery.
So I just looked him in the eyes and said, “Now if only we could get universal health care.”
I think he shit himself.
“Clem, have a great Thanksgiving if I don’t see you!” I said as I headed back toward my single-wide with the barking doberman pincher on a chain in the yard.