Tuesday, February 21, 2017

From the Heating Pad

Recounting the unfortunate events of last Sunday and Monday, February 12th and 13th...

It is my second day of being forty-four and I am on the couch alternately applying heat and ice to my knee.  This is because on my first day of being forty-four I attempted something crazy.  Something no one my age had any business doing, evidently.

I tried getting out of my chair and standing.

Kapow!  Blam!  Zowie!  

Pain shot through the outside of my left knee.  Holy aging ligaments, Batman!  Why, why, WHY had I tried getting up without a chair lift?

I was unable to stand, probably due to my extremely low threshold for... er, ethereal sensitivity to pain.  (It's basically a superpower.)  You follow?  My leg did not work for a moment.  Then I hobbled around for the rest of the night and pretty much ever since.  I still don't know what I did, except get old.  

The same night as the chair incident I was perusing my phone with my glasses resting atop my head.  An uber-helpful co-worker asked, "Do you need bifocals, Bone?"  No, this is a fashion statement, I saw it on the cover of Geriatrics Quarterly.  Yes, of course I need bifocals! 

Also, we got new reference books at work with print so microscopic that in order to read it you need a frickin' electron microscope.  Or, average eyesight.  So I had to get another, much younger co-worker to read off some numbers to me.

This came on the heels of me having a grievous cold, my first time being sick in two or three years.  (I still blame the Tdap vaccination the pediatrician unceremoniously forced on me.)  It was the kind of cold that would have knocked an average person off their feet for up to a day.  I was off mine for two, proving yet again that I am not average.

To top it off, my reflux has been acting up, waking me a couple of times a week lately.  At least that'll make for a decent conversation starter down at the convalescent center.

If I were a horse, they'd have to shoot me.  Of course, if I were a horse, I'd be like a hundred and thirty in human years, which would probably be some kind of record.  So maybe they wouldn't shoot me.  I'd most likely be in some kind of equine museum, alongside Secretariat, Mister Ed (of course... of course), and a horse with no name.

How did this happen?  To me???  I was always the one getting the "Well you sure don't look that old" comments.  Just a couple of weeks ago, my 9-year-old niece informed me she thought I was twenty-nine, about to turn thirty.  And trust me, she's a great judge of all things.  (Is it any wonder I married into that family?)

I've most certainly always acted younger than my age.  Much, much younger.  I'm sure any of my ex-girlfriends would attest to that.  And have.   

But suddenly, I'm feeling every last one of my forty-four years.  And about thirty more on top of that.

Mrs. Bone has to be wondering what she's gotten herself into.  To her credit, she hasn't said anything.  Of course if she did, my aged ears probably couldn't hear her anyway.

"I wish I still smoked cigarettes / Felt more grown up then / We were talkin' about where we were gonna go / Instead of talkin' 'bout where we'd been..."

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

The Hearse People

I was chewing the fat with the pest control guy one fair spring day last April when something caught his eye.

"What's going on over there?"  He was standing near the southwest corner of the privacy fence, peering at something in the distance.  I figured I knew where this was going.

"Oh, the hearse.  Yeah.  I have no idea, man."

"No, I mean, it's like pimped out.  It's got rims."

I had noticed the hearse a few weeks earlier parked in the carport of the house behind and to the south of ours.  But until now, I hadn't noticed the aftermarket rims.

In my defense, those same neighbors also have half a pickup truck sitting in the yard missing its bed and rear axle, as well as a pop-up camper which seems to house an unknown number of additional tenants.  Also, the previous resident didn't clean the garage gutters for so long there was foot-high vegetation growing in them.  Volunteer marijuana, possibly.  (Did I mention we do not, in fact, live in a gated community?)

Anyhow, in that context the hearse sort of blended in, though I now somewhat understood the allure, yea necessity, of HOA's.

It was the aftermarket rims that had me intrigued.  Who pimps out a hearse?  Was there some new reality show I didn't know about?  "The Emaciated Race?"  "Extreme Makeover: Mortician Edition?"  "Pimp My Final Ride?"  I mean, everyone I know who drives a hearse as their personal vehicle...

I had considered many possibilities for the hearse.  At first, I thought maybe they worked for a funeral home, and when the bed and rear axle had completely fallen off their truck in an extraordinary occurrence, they decided to drive the Caddy home for personal use.   However, the rims seemed to cast doubt on that theory.

Also, I met them one day in mid-December on my way home and the rear interior -- you know, where they keep the.... dearly departed -- was decorated with Christmas lights.  Maybe it was a festive funeral home?

It initially crossed my mind that maybe they were planning something big for Halloween.  Though procuring a hearse more than six months early seemed a bit odd.  (As opposed to driving a hearse home at all?)

There was also the possibility we were indeed living next door to the real-life Addams Family, though I never recalled hearing the names Gomez, Wednesday, or Fester being mentioned when they were outside.

And then, of course, there is the final and most likely scenario:

The hearse people are in the mafia.

The elongated Cadillac providing a perfect cover for transporting anyone who had recently been whacked to go sleep with the fishes.  In other words, the Addams "Family." *wink wink*

Why not just walk over and ask, you may wonder?  Uh, no thank you.  I walk over to offer some fresh garden vegetables and -- badda-bing! -- suddenly it's "Leave the gun, take the cucumbers."

Plus, I've yet to tell you about the weirdest thing of all.  One afternoon as I walked out onto the back patio I heard creepy organ music coming from the direction of the hearse people.  It sounded like the opening riff of Beethoven's 5th, slowed down.  Four notes.  And then it stopped.  It was beyond eerie, and at that point I was for sure never going anywhere near that house.

I immediately walked back inside and never spoke of it.  Thankfully, I hadn't been able to see anything over our fence.  Not that I would squeal, mind you.  I know how things work, I saw nearly all of "The Godfather."

My most recent encounter occurred a week or so ago when I was in the living room and Mrs. Bone informed me, "There's a strange man with a dog in our yard."

I looked out to see a gentlemen I did not recognize.  Since I know the neighbors on either side of us and across the street, we surmised he must be one of the hearse people, or "the family" as I now reverently address them.  He was older, gray-haired, probably not an enforcer.  At least not anymore.

He appeared to be trying to corral the dog.  Poor pup.  I could only imagine the punishment for leaving the yard without permission.  *shudder*  Or perhaps they were trying to pick up a scent of where something, or someone, had been buried.  *gulp*

I ducked out of view before he could spot me, though I did notice one final detail about the mysterious denizen:  He was wearing a Bama t-shirt.

At once I knew exactly how our initial conversation would someday go.

Me: "Roll Tide?"

Him: "Fuggedaboutit!"

"Don't let this old gold cross and this Crimson Tide t-shirt throw ya / It's cicadas making noise with a Southern voice..."