Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Friday, February 25, 2005  

I love my neighbor

Yesterday, in the neighborhood where I live, I pulled my car over and parked so that I might take photos of our early blooming magnolia trees (also known as tulip trees) on various streets near my home. (I'll have some photos another day. I was doing this in the hope of getting good pictures before another winter storm suddenly appeared and ruined all the blossoming trees.)

On one street corner, a yard was planted with a flower bed of red and orange tulips and yellow daffodils. Two middle aged people, a man and woman were working in their yard as I came up and asked the woman if I could take some pictures of their flowers. She said it was fine.

She left and after taking a number of pictures, the man came near to talk to me. He was dressed in a T-shirt, jeans, and had somewhat scraggly hair from a thinning head. He looked a bit blue collarish, plain, and unsophisticated.

He asked me what I was up to, if I lived in the neighborhood. I told him of my origin as a close neighbor a few streets over. He asked about my closest neighbors whom I did know, in fact, and mentioned a house for sale nearby which he had grown up in.

Having looked at the property at an Open House (wanting to assess local property values), I told him about how it looked now.

We got to talking further and I spoke of my daughter and her readiness to move to LA to pursue an acting career.

"She's going to study theater and look for work in classical theater like Shakespeare rather than TV and movies. The things they ask young girls to do in Hollywood just isn't right."

"That's good," he said. "My wife and I go up to Ashland (Oregon) every year for a few days. There's a wonderful place we stay and we love that town. We see a play or two of Shakespeare and really enjoy being up there. It's a wonderful area."

"No kidding? I love Ashland. My daughter does, too, and hopes she can eventually work up there at the festival. We used to live in Mt. Shasta. That's where we came down from to Sacramento. My daughter was born there. Had to leave cause there's no work unless you create your own job; and well, my business never got off the ground."

We talked for a couple more minutes, shook hands, gave each other our names and parted company.

Later on I reflected on the fact that if your average lefty professor or college student had driven by and seen the two of us chatting, he would have thought, "there's Joe Six Pack (me) and his roofer (my neighbor). What a pair of ordinary slobs and those guys get to cancel my vote? What a travesty!"

It would never have occurred to the judgmental creep that these two average looking men were talking about Shakespeare and not about sports and what beer we liked most depending on price.

I marveled at it myself. I never get over the fact that Americans are full of surprises. You never know the hobbies, the depth of knowledge, and compelling interests of the guy across the street. (It's not just Americans, though. It's people all over the world.)

The blogosphere has begun to expose the fact that the world is full of amazing experts and hobbyists who can run circles around all sorts of "authorities"; people who live completely ordinary and obscure lives.

People, when you get to know them, are really quite amazing and wonderful.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 12:05 AM |