Little stories, gone gently unsaid

 

Corner Market in Seattle

Corner Market in Seattle

 

 

“Interesting” is one of those words that can mean pretty much anything, but usually means nothing. Used as a conversational nudge, it means, “go on, I’m listening.” Said drawn out in the beginning, like, “iiiiiiiinteresting,” it means you just found something odd. Said after a pause, like, “that’s . . . interesting,” means you just found something really odd. Looking at the actual Webster’s definition, however, it simply means “holding the attention : arousing interest.”

So judge for yourself when I describe the following as arousing my interest:

1. The fellow who comes by the recycling center several times a day to scrounge through the materials to see if there’s anything he wants. So-marked treasures are piled into his wagon, which is attached to his 1950s bicycle. The most “interesting” thing about him is his outfit — always a dusty pair of overalls with no shirt underneath, so one can easily see just how filthy he is. I actually get concerned about him because he seems so duly dedicated and driftless. I wonder where he sleeps at night. 

 

The ceiling in question

The ceiling in question

2. The ceiling in the smallest bedroom of our Liar House is made of plaster. Okay, not so interesting. But when the plaster was in its infancy and still wet, someone drew all over it. There’s a tic-tac-toe board and a set of Olympic rings, the words “California,” Walla Walla,” and “Paula,” as if someone were documenting her own travel to this isolated village. Was it inscribed in a year of the Olympic games? We do know from a previous resident that it was there in 2002, but earlier than that, we have no idea.

3. There’s a small photo in our basement, a knock off of some cheap Olin Mills portrait. Four women of varying ages, all blonde, smiling a little too much like they hailed from Stepford, Massachusetts. No idea when that was left here, why it’s in the basement, of all places, if it’s a joke or placed ironically.

4. Tuesday is lawn moving day, which I presume will end shortly — probably when the college shuts off the automatic lawn sprinklers. Our band-playing neighbors next door have a large trampoline in the backyard. When the mowing guy comes by, he doesn’t drive up in one of those long-bed pickup trucks with a green “Landscaping” painted on the side. He arrives by street in his riding lawnmower, as if he pops up from the ground like our watering system, or possibly like a mechanized, humongous hedgehog. I’ve never actually seen him not sitting in the mower. Thus his strategy for moving the trampoline, which obviously blocks a big swath of lawn, is to ram it, head on, move where it recently had been, and then ram it from the other side. So the sound of this is amusing and a bit worrisome: mowmowmowmowBANGmowmowmowmowBANGBANGmowmowmowmowmow.

Those are just the top four interesting people and things in this corner of town. Perhaps next week I’ll move off campus with a few more mysteries.

Meanwhile, it’s clear I need to get out more often.

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