Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Thinking out loud: Some things hit too close to home

I’ve been in a pretty mellow mood tonight; people are literally disappearing to the left and right of me.  It’s bothering me, and parts of me are both sure and unsure why.

Saturday morning I was at the local gossip shop (for a haircut) and my neighbor-of-sorts Jim (who lives 3 floors below me and is the eyes & ears of our apartment building) was there, and asked me if I knew where Vanessa had moved to. 

(Vanessa is my next door neighbor, a nice but very shy woman who’s lived across from me since 2000.)  I laughed & said “Jim where do you get your info?  She didn’t move anywhere, I think I’d know if she did.”  Jim said “ok, ok”.  I decided right then & there, as soon as I got my haircut I was going to come straight home, knock on Vanessa’s door, say hi and properly introduce myself.  My god, why did I wait this long?  We’ve lived a couple feet apart for 12 years, often I’d hear her tv when I was coming or going and I’d think “I should really make an effort to be friendlier to her.” 

So, after my haircut I stopped at the drugstore to pick up some items & came straight home.  I walked up to her door, knocked, no response.  Put my ear to the door, no sounds from within.  I don’t know what I was thinking, but I carefully tried the doorknob.  The door swung right open, revealing a completely bare apartment.  Her keys and a receipt for carpet cleaning lay on the kitchen counter.  Vanessa, you were a good neighbor & I’m going to miss you.

That was Saturday; the following day, I’m outside reading on my patio when I hear someone buzz my apartment.  It’s the local police, they’re trying to locate Dr. Steveson, my neighbor on the other side.  (I’ve written about him before, a psychologist in his late 50s, friendly but quiet, kept to himself.)  Apparently he called the hospital Friday night complaining of chest pains, was admitted that night but released himself Saturday.  The hospital had been doing a follow-up but was unable to reach him.   The police entered his apartment and found his body, he died in there sometime Saturday.

The medical examiner’s SEALED notice is across Dr. Steveson’s front door

So earlier tonight, I am sitting here playing on the computer & watching the news, someone knocks on my door.  It’s the deceased doctor’s brother-in-law.

He said “Hi, I’m sorry to bother you but did you know your neighbor here?” I said yes, he lived beside me for several years.  He said “I’m his brother-in-law.  I was married to his sister, but she died some years ago.  Me and my daughter, we’re his only kin.”  I said hello and I was sorry for his loss. 

He said “Thanks, but we haven’t talked to the man in 7 years.”   

He went on to say “He never married, no kids. He lived with his mom until she died, then he moved in here.  The guy was a pretty odd duck for being a head doctor… were you friends with him?”  I said no.  He said “I’m not surprised, he was hard to know.  Did you see his place?  It’s a pigsty—when I knew him he took 3-4 baths a day.  Smoked like a chimney too, had triple bypass surgery 5-6 years ago but couldn’t give up the weed.”  

(I knew the doc was a heavy smoker, when he passed me in the hallway he reeked badly of it; and when they found his body, the walls in his apartment were streaked with tar & nicotine.)

He said “Well, they contacted me, don’t know how they got my name but I told ‘em, haven’t seen or talked to him in years. After his sister passed, my daughter tried to talk to him but gave up.  So am I responsible for clearing out his apartment?  What about his car, do I have to take care of that too?”  I told him I didn’t know, but I’m sure he couldn’t be held liable for anything.  Well, unless he wants the man’s estate, whatever that may be. 

He said “Who wants any of that stuff?”  He thanked me and left. 

So I’ve been sitting here tonight, thinking about this poor man who had no one in his life, and no one to mourn his loss.  His car is still sitting outside, parked next to mine.   And I can’t help but make comparisons between us.  Never married—no kids, lived alone.   I always saw my living here as one chapter in my life, certainly not the final one.  I’m sure the Doc didn’t either. 

To my former neighbors on the left & right of me, I hope they both find themselves in happier places.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

What do the simple minded folk do? (Well, if you really want to know...)


A couple months ago on Facebook, my friend Rebecca (okay, she’s more like a second cousin) wrote “You are never too cool or too successful to answer a 3 year old’s toy phone”.

People put a lot of so-called wisdom on Facebook, most of which is lame crap, but I liked Rebecca’s quote; for some reason it stuck with me.  So recently, when my sister Shawn told me how much my 7 year old niece Sophia still enjoyed watching a corny video I made 4 years ago about quitting smoking (because of some goofy mugging I did for the camera), I was really surprised--and very flattered.  And I decided that when it comes to Sophie, maybe my simple minded video-making days weren’t so far behind me after all.

This time ‘round I tried doing something a little more “7 year old girl who enjoys dressing up as a princess” oriented, so please keep that in mind if you decide to watch the video below.  (And for the record, I wasn’t planning on sharing this with anyone besides my sister and my niece, but Shawn made such a nice fuss about it… heh heh!  Smile

(One more thing--because I borrowed some copyrighted music for my five minute masterpiece, YouTube may not allow the video to be played on my teepee and provide a link instead.  They’re fussy that way; but so far it seems to be working okay.)

Okay, enough with the jibber-jabber; on with the show!