|The way it used to be|
BACKYARD – I had every intention of us meeting on the rooftop. A beautiful, clear day like today is perfect for a roof-sit. But, I had to weigh the trouble of getting up there against the value of the experience.
It’s not nearly as easy to get on top of this roof as it was where we used to live. I’ve got to drag the extension ladder out, and haul up my big sitting pillow, tablet and coffee mug, and situate all of it on the second steepest roof I’ve ever sat on. This roof was likely designed by some company headquartered in the Alps.
We’ve got a lot of time and money invested in this place. And, sweat. A lot of sweat. You should’ve seen me yesterday. I bought and installed a hose roller upper. Phyllis is sitting on it. -- Phyllis, get up for a second. -- See that beauty? No, Ernie, the box. You don’t just throw a contraption like that on the ground and start reeling in your hose. There’s work involved. – You can sit down now, Phyllis.
Just a second. – “What, Sweetpea? Oh, okay. I’ll be right there. -- I’m sorry about that. Kay found something on YouTube that she has to show me. I will need to act interested. I’ll be right back. -- Ernie, behave. --
Well, that was cute. Two parrots playing basketball on top of a lady’s bar. Not a lot of defense in a basketball game between two birds. Isn’t this a great to time to be alive? Just Google “parrots playing basketball” and there they are. (After reading this, go to YouTube and key in “Parrot crying like a baby.” Don’t have any heavy toss-able objects nearby, 'cause that parrot can really cry. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEJjJBM3uSg
By the way, if we were on the rooftop today, I wouldn’t have gone inside to watch the parrots play basketball. That’s a big drawback to having to sit at ground level. Kay can interrupt stuff.
There’s something else about this roof that doesn’t sit well with me. The view is not very good. All the houses around here have cedar fences skirting their backyards. So, from the roof, most of the view is of my neighbor’s backyards. Cedar fences are put up so you can sit outside in a lawn chair in your underwear if you want. At least, that’s the thought of one of my neighbors. (I’m joking)
When I was a kid, a wooden fence was seldom considered. I’m not even sure they were invented yet. Every house had a chain-link fence. This gave the neighborhood dogs a much better view of what they were barking at. – “It’s me, Manfred! You know me, so shut up!”
In my old neighborhood, if somebody put up a cedar fence people would consider it rude. An obvious attempt to keep something hidden. – “What are they doing over there at the Johnson's? Do you think they’re putting in an above ground pool? Skippy, take your brother and check it out. Report back here after Bonanza to give me the poop. – What? No, just tell me what you found out. -- Nincompoops! You’re raising nincompoops, Margaret!”
Things have sure changed since then. Today we fence off everything. It’s really no big deal if you don’t talk to your neighbors. What’s weird is, I enjoy talking to strangers when out in public. But at home, I always look out the window before going out the front door, just so I don’t have to make conversation. If there is anyone out there, I’ll have to say something.
It’s a disease of some kind. When I find myself in near proximity to others who are not talking, I feel compelled to say something. The dumber the comment the better. -- “So, what do y'all think about that crying parrot?” -- I just hate doing stuff like that, but I can’t stop. I’m told it’s the fifth indicator of insanity.
You ask me, the closeness we used to have with our neighbors ended because of color TV and better viewing options. Of course, even when I’m not watching TV, I don’t have the time nor the inclination to sit in the yard talking to the neighbors. I don’t even know their last names. And, yes, I lied about not having the time.
Beg your pardon? You? No! Of course not! I enjoy sitting out here talking to you. We’ve been rooftop buddies forever. We’re like family… except for those who don’t care to be part of the family. I feel you, brother. I mean, I feel you, acquaintance.
Not to worry, we’re now at ground level and blocked from the view of anyone on the other side of this fence. If it were not so, I wouldn’t be talking. I happen to know that talking when alone is one of the 12 indicators of insanity. I’m only four away from getting my certificate. Kay says that when I finally qualify, she’ll hang my certificate in my study and visit me at the asylum every third Friday of the month. Keep in mind this is the same woman who called me in the house to watch two parrots play basketball.
Mark can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. An archive of Hayter’s articles can be found at http://markhayterscolumn.blogspot.com