Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cul de Sac Crazy VI - Being 60 (week 42 - by Margaret Ullrich)


Last Sunday Paul and I wondered if B would ever leave.

A's white car was still parked in the back. 
No sign of A.
No sign of B.

That Monday we celebrated a subdued St. Valentine's Day.


At 4:00 am, on Tuesday morning, we woke to the sound of a car's engine being revved.
B was back to his old habit of idling his engine.
No one else was up at that hour.
Really, our neighbors keep pretty regular hours.
Some oil sheik ought to name a kid after B.

At 7:00 am we woke to see the white car back in the bay.
Alright. 
We knew the drill. 
No one else was going to park there.
No one wanted to risk meeting B.
B exercised that car more than he did himself or his dog.


At 1:00 pm Paul glanced outside and saw that the car was gone.
After what happened last week, that was pretty daring.
We wondered if the CAA locksmith would be paying our bay another visit.
Within 15 minutes the white car was back. 

Then B did something totally, and I mean totally, out of character.
He shoveled the walkway.
Okay... he only shoveled to the edge of his property line.
He left the snow on the boulevard part of his walkway.
Still, for him, that was an amazing bit of effort.
Something we'd never seen him do in the 10 years he was here.

Was he going to start taking care of the property?
At 1:30 he drove away.


We'll never know if he changed.
We expected him back within the hour... that night... the next day.
Nothing.
Neighbors turned on their Christmas lights to celebrate.


On Thursday, February 17, at 12:00 pm, Paul just happpened to glance out the window.

Like I said last week, timing is everything.

A Security Experts van was parked in front of A's house.
A CAA locksmith van was parked in front of A's house.
A grey Honda was parked in front of A's house.
Lo and behold, A was getting out of the Honda.

Our neighbor's house became a hub of activity.
Locks were changed.
Alarms were tested.
By the time they left, the place was a Winnipeg Fort Knox.
There was even a warning sign on the back fence.


On Friday, February 18, the bay was quiet.
No sign of security experts or locksmiths.
Had we imagined it?


On Saturday a mustard-colored truck, loaded with boxes, parked in the bay. 
A few other cars and vans came to the bay.
People, including A, were heading into the house.

The purging of B had begin.

Ah.


B was always whining about being a war orphan.
We're talking the Viet Nam War.
He was still collecting orphan's benefits.
They were deposited in an American bank.
B knew how to 'stay under the radar'. 

He was proud of his Southern roots. 
He insisted on having a huge Canadian Flag on a pole between our houses.
That's how it was done in Texas.
As former Americans, he expected us to understand.
We didn't.

When the flag waved in the breeze, it shredded on our house's stucco.
B came over and complained.
We explained that we couldn't move the house.
He bought a smaller flag.

He reminded us of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With The Wind, with his disregard for anyone else's needs or feelings. 
Everyone existed to serve him. 
He really expected someone - anyone - to take him in and care for him.

He couldn't be expect to take care of himeself.
Not at 50.
Not after a lifetime of being a sponge.
A lifetime of hare-brained schemes that would 'fly under the radar'.
He was regarded as mentally challenged at best.
A con artist at worst.

His attitude and behavior wore thin quickly.
He never knew how anyone felt.
After a while, all we could think was "Frankly, I don't give a damn." 

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