Thursday, January 17, 2008

Not in a creepy way, in a funny way

I carpooled to work with a friend this summer and near the beginning of June he pointed out that he'd seen an old man sitting in the same place on his porch three days in a row. For the rest of the summer, we held our breath twice a day as we approached this old man's house, a duplex just past the town's only stoplight, hoping we'd get to see him.

This sounds ridiculous, I know, but it was partially a way to pass the time and partially funny to try to think about what this guy must be like. Sometimes he was reading a book or the newspaper, but often he was just sitting on the porch swing. He was wise, we speculated, the wisest man in the world, and when he was just sitting he was thinking the wisest thoughts any man had ever thought. He had a dog, who was often in the yard with him, and naturally this was his best friend. Once or twice, we even saw an old woman--his wife, naturally--come through the front door to talk to him.

I haven't seen him since October, and I have to admit that it isn't as much fun anyway now that I'm no longer carpooling. But I do have a soft spot in my heart for the house and the porch, because we spent so much time fictionalizing their stories.

And THEN. Yesterday, I was driving home from work when I saw a sign in the front yard. FOR RENT, it said. My heart stopped! Was my old man...gone? Had he and his wife decided to move? What was going on?

But as I got closer to the sign I could read the small print: Upstairs Apartment. I breathed a sigh of relief, because the door we'd seen the man and his wife use clearly belonged to the downstairs apartment. And then I realized: I could totally move out of my parents' house and into the same building as the fabled old man. Doesn't that sound like the best idea you've ever heard?

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