Wednesday, July 15, 2009

“Well, let’s sit down and I’ll tell you about my day.” This was Monday, after I returned from fishing. DW and I have been married long enough for me to know that something was up, yet her tone was not foreboding.

What followed was the tale of a fawn separated from her twin and mother, wandering too near the road for DW’s comfort, and the strategy used to encourage the young thing to go back toward the pond from whence she came. Instead, it crossed the road just before Mommy Deer and Sis emerged from getting a drink. Time for a second strategy, a reunion. Cyclists interrupt the implementation. She hears one mention the folks from Chicago who live in the yellow house. Company.

One looks familiar, the other a stranger. The former is a past client from our farmers’ market days. There were issues. He also owns a small parcel of woods around the corner where he and his woman friend camp for unspecified amounts of time. The stranger is from Chicago, Southside. They would like to come back the next day to buy some duck eggs.

The dog lets us know that they have returned. She is good. One bark, that’s it. Never more, just the way I like it. I have been told she will repeat herself when we are not home, which is also good.

“Hi bas.” He uses the short form of my name, a nickname, something reserved for family and old friends. Otherwise it presumes a familiarity that I find, well, presumptuous.

“Remind me of your name,” I ask.

“Gary, and this is my friend, Rich. He’s from Chicago.” I shake hands but have no other questions. I am busy watching. And listening. Gary doesn’t shut up. He uses his hands to talk, like a disheveled professor from the early 70s who has played with Leary a few times too many. He has on a t-shirt under a ragged short-sleeve shirt, thread-bare shorts from the previously mentioned decade reinforced with duct tape, and old black military style boots.

Rich wears the same type of boots. Otherwise, he is clad in blue jeans, t-shirt, denim vest, and carries a denim jacket. He has a dark complexion, black hair with a gray forelock, muscular arms and skinny legs. He has a difficult time standing still, touching the Japanese Maple, smelling the flowers on a Spirea. He tries to say things but Gary talks over him.

They tell a disjointed tale of how they came to meet, or be reacquainted, that had something to do with a flat bicycle tire that didn’t have a leak but was instead purposefully deflated. There was talk about animals in the woods, The Nature Conservancy, local community gardens, Rich’s heritage and food stamp purchases at Safeway, and bartering for more food. I was waiting for the last.

Don’t get me wrong. We have more than enough and will readily share. Sharing, however, gets complicated. I cared for neither of these men, and I thought my silence up to this point might have made that apparent. I was not a receptive audience. Yet, my better nature found me in the basement to retrieve a dozen duck eggs while DW took the two out to fetch some beets, lettuce, squash, and not much else.

Prior to their arrival DW and I had arranged that I would excuse myself early from the visit as I had a writing deadline (I wish), and that in itself might cut the visit short. Having retreated, and time passed, I grew uncomfortable in that the eggs remained. DW had said that she would tend to the ducks after they had gone, but I thought it might be wise if I attended to that chore. My presence, you understand.

And on they stayed. Yet, by the time the ducks were watered and the coop cleaned, DW had them up to the road.

Again just the two of us, DW filled me in. They had offered to work for food. DW (and I am so proud of her for this) informed them that we had moved to the country for many reasons, a major one being that we preferred each other’s company rather exclusively. She also brought up the farmers’ market hissy fit of the woman friend over a pumpkin, which Gary thought no biggie, for he extended an invitation up to their campsite. Oh joy.

People who know me, as I have written elsewhere, find me rather affable. I confess it is contingent on a prediction of how well I can tolerate a prolonged proximity. To have that proximity forced upon me from the get-go pretty much assures that a less courteous bastin will be in attendance. And the gun is behind the door.


Cardgrrl said...

Oh dear. You gave them free food? That sounds like a recipe for endless repeat visits.

Hope I'm wrong.

Crash said...

And I was just thinking about coming to visit you two for a while.

bastinptc said...

Sis, I hope you're wrong too, for one does not want to push me too far.

Crash, sorry buddy, but I don't even like to talk on the phone.

Crash said...

Can I at least call you 'bas?' No, I guess not. No problem, I am about like you.

Memphis MOJO said...

Usually people like that can take a hint. Let's hope that's the case here.

bastinptc said...

bas = Pat. Just like most things, if I like you, I'll cut you slack. My fishing buddy, Steve, calls me Pat. It's cool.

MM - Yes, I hope they can take the hint. Maybe not Gary, convinced as he is that he's a sliver-tongued devil who is a joy to be around. The other guy is a bit more street smart and may have picked up on the vibe.

Anonymous said...

Know a guy named Robert.

I called him Bob one day. He says, "Do you want to be my friend? Then call me Robert."

Another guy everyone calls him Mr., probably even his mom called him Mr.

What's in a name? Sometimes poison.