So I go out to get my mail this afternoon (Nothing but junk. I feel bad for my mailman who delivered this to me in 90+ degree temperatures with 727 percent humidity only to have me take it right from the mailbox to the trash) and am stopped dead in my tracks by what’s going on in my across-the-street neighbor’s yard.
This guy is a real interesting fellow. I don’t know what his name is, even after living here for five years. He’s always just been The Dude Across the Street. He’s in the Merchant Marines (what is that, anyway -- I honestly don't know) and is often gone for weeks, even months at a time. He’s home now. And in honor of what looks to be a nice little stay, he has hung a ratty old hammock in his front yard, one side tied to his front house post, one side tied to a giant oak. Also hanging from said oak tree is a little platform, suspended by what looks like yellow marine rope. And on the little platform is a mini-cooler of beer. The front door of the house is open, allowing the dulcet tones of Iron Butterfly and “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” to sing through the neighborhood. Dude is nowhere to be found in this little vignette. But he’ll be back soon enough. That’s a given.
Now our neighborhood is delightfully modestly middle class, with families like ours, empty nesters, gay couples and single folks happily cohabitating. Having our own modern day Gilligan set up camp in his front yard is a big contrast from the well-tended lawns, flower beds and jog strollers (namely mine) that are commonly found along the block.
I don’t want to sound like one of Those Neighbors, who wave their fist in the air while shouting at the neighborhood kids to get off their lawn. But Dude has been known to only sport a pair of cutoff jean shorts for days at a time. And the thought of that visual, laying in that hammock, mowing through a 12 of Miller Genuine Draft and listening to a stream of Arena Rock! is enough to keep me going out the back door of my house for a while.
I’m just sayin’.