Monday, August 13, 2007

Preventive health maintenance

The landlady has talked of nothing but getting Direct TV and getting rid of Comcast/Adelphia for months. She finally had the dish installed a week or so ago and has complained about it since then because it wasn't aimed in the right direction. She asked me to lean out the window to see if I could push it into the right position but that failed since the dish is bolted into position. Then came the two or three times daily bang and squeak and metallic slide of the extension ladder being slammed against the side of the house while Marius, the landlady's new very young friend who watches TV all night long, calls for the landlady to hold the ladder while he climbs up and "fixes" the dish again and again and again and again until I find myself enclosed in darkened rooms with the shades drawn against Marius (or whoever) peering into my bedroom window when I'm asleep or coming from or going to the bathroom in less than modest attire. It is, after all, my apartment and it has been hot and I'm sweating so modest attire is no longer an option. This morning Pastor barked wildly and the landlady went to the front door to let in the Direct TV repairmen, the men I suggested she call last week when all this ladder climbing and shouting and interminable adjusting of the dish began.

The real reason for the dish is because Marius was not happy with the dearth of available channels. He is the one who spends the most time watching TV and hanging around all day and all night with the sound up high enough so that I can tell what he's watching and what is being said (or played). Marius is maybe 30 years old; the landlady is older than I am, but she insists he is just her friend she picked up at the gym. Marius doesn't drive a car -- he doesn't own one. Marius is here all the time -- but he's just a friend. Marius doesn't seem to have a job but the landlady keeps him busy and supposedly pays him for his "chores". It's an interesting situation to watch even though she complains about him, too. He watches too much TV. He leaves the TV on all night. He didn't stick around long when he found out the regular cable would be out until the dish was installed. He wasn't happy because the dish wasn't aimed right. Seems like an awful lot of trouble for a friend, but then again . . . maybe not. She's German and Marius is from some middle European country. Maybe this is how things are done in Europe.

Meanwhile, my friend doesn't demand nearly as much of me. Instead, he provides me with laughter, lousy jokes that are actually punny, and an emotional closeness I've not found in anyone for very long or all that often. His wife died more than a year ago and we bumped into each other looking for the same thing -- a friend. He owns his own house and about 40 acres, a pond he built for his wife (a really BIG pond with a waterfall and common goldfish the size of a Cooper) and a gentle and infectious sense of humor. He also has hair almost as long as mine and a Yosemite Sam mustache that brackets a very nice smile. His dog is named Rowan and he is a true country gentleman, a product born and raised in Colorado, who has a love of archeology and a curiosity that almost equals mine. He does not, however, have my quick recall so he compensates by writing everything down on Post-It. I have a feeling that he either owns stock in the company or is its most notable consumer.

I've always believed that things happen for a reason. The people we meet, no matter how strange the relationship seems from the outside, are people we have either known or need to know and they appear at a time when we have thought ourselves out of the human loop. They bring us back into life and infuse our narrow world with a much needed injection of fun or insight we desperately need. I know my country gentleman's purpose in my life at this time. He is a vaccine against romantic notions and testosterone poisoning that usually leads me to wanting to take men permanently off the menu. So far, he is working better than expected and I'm glad he's here. I'm sure the landlady feels the same about Marius.

That is all. Disperse and find your own vaccine.

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