Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Pianoman Next Door

My Beloved Curmudgeon and I have moved a lot during our marriage. We've bought and sold several houses along the way. In all that moving we have found a few things have been very consistent for us. Those things have been so consistent that by the time we bought the house we currently live in we were joking about having to make sure those things were in place before we bought it.

For instance, we have always had very interesting neighbors. Interesting as in eccentric and/or just downright odd. Almost all of our neighbors have had the same first name. I won't name the name on the outside chance my neighbor happens to read this. I'll keep an element of plausible deniability for the sake of peace in the neighborhood. We actually thought of asking our neighbor's names before we bought the house. We joked about it, but didn't actually ask. Sure enough, when we met the neighbor closest to us, he had the same name. When my Beloved Curmudgeon and I got back to the house after meeting him we were slack jawed. What are the odds!

Our neighbors have been a source of perverse entertainment for us over the years. There was an elderly couple that lived across the street from us years ago who had the loudest fights. This wasn't the type of neighborhood one would expect this type of behavior which made it all the more entertaining. They would start fighting. She would throw him out of the house. He would stand out in the yard and yell for her to let him back in. She would yell at him out the window and start throwing his stuff out into the yard. He would stomp and snort around in the yard for a while. He'd usually wind up pleading with her. He'd finally get in his car and drive around the block repeatedly. Eventually, he'd pull back into the driveway and she'd let him back in. This happened about twice a week.

I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, but more than a few times my Beloved Curmudgeon and I would turn off the lights and sit on the floor by the window watching them, we'd make sarcastic remarks to each other and laugh like a couple of idiots. Like I said, perverse entertainment.

Every single house we've lived in has had its own form of entertainment from the neighbors. In fact, I think we've provided entertainment for our neighbors a time or two, but that's another story.

Our current neighbor-with-the-same-first-name-as-all-our-other-neighbors is as entertaining as any of them. He is friendly, jovial and I've never heard him and his wife fight. However, he has a tendency to walk around his front yard in red shorts and no shirt .... and he weights at least 300 pounds. Its really not a pretty sight, especially when he bends over to pick up something. He also has a tendency to cook out on a grill on his back deck naked. Yes, naked. I've told my Beloved Curmudgeon I'm not eating any hamburgers he might bring over to share!

pianoWe live on a heavily wooded side of a mountain. His house is the only house we can see if we are sitting on our back screened in porch. We sit on our back screened in porch a lot. In the summer you can only make the house out through the trees. In the winter its a very clear view, especially if he has his lights on. Either way, its hard to miss him when he's cooking out. I have given him the benefit of the doubt and assumed he didn't know we could see him. You know, the trees and all. My Beloved Curmudgeon says that of course he knows, he just doesn't care. I admit, the more I've gotten to know this neighbor - with - the - same - first - name - as - all - our - other - neighbors the more I'm convinced that if he thinks about it at all, he really doesn't care.

The thing about this neighbor - with - the - same - first - name - as - all - our - other - neighbors is that he runs a piano business out of his basement. He has a couple of big trucks in his drive-way and picks up and delivers pianos. He tunes the finest pianos in the area, some from his basement. I brought my laptop out to our screened in back porch a while ago and sat down. When I got all settled and quiet I heard the music of Mozart floating over from my neighbor's house. It was beautiful. Stunningly beautiful. I just sat and listened until he stopped.

Our neighbor who walks around his yard unclothed, who cusses like a trucker, is uncouth, is big and burly and could care less what anyone thinks of him, can play the piano with the touch of a fine concert virtuoso.

No one would know that about him if you judged him by first appearance. You could only know that if you sat on my screened in back porch and listened.