For the last week I've been in a strep-throat "special place" coma, coming in and out of rational thought. I like to think it's something like a peyote-induced hero's journey, where I've learned something significant about life and the journey of eternity. I know nothing of the peyote, which will surprise noone, but I once took a Native American literature class that I quite enjoyed, and we read a lot of books, although the only thing I clearly remember was that Star Wars is a classic example of the Native American hero's journey. That bit of information both impressed me (wow, we're we really are all connected. . .) and disappointed me (you mean it wasn't an entirely original. . . story. . .? George. . . ?) That, and we got to give ourselves our grade at the end of the semester. That was particularly difficult for an overachiever with serious issues with guilt. But that's a topic for another day. And one more important detail: my teacher had a white, round non-Native American face and wore plenty of turqouis and blue eye shadow. Come to think of it, I had TWO English professors who fit that description. . .
So you can see that I'm an expert in all things Native American.
I'd like to share my relationship with my neighbors who are, technically Native CANADIANS, not Americans, but have lived in Provo for almost 3 generations. They have different "teens" from their tribe come and stay with them to go to school in America, and they have "a band" which consists of several different kinds of drums and chanting. I know that some could accuse me of being overly dramatic to emphasize comedic elements in my life (Tina), but I want to assure you that the following are true, accurate accounts of the facts. I will try to dress them down in the dullest flesh-toned twin set I can find. Keep in mind that Topher and I have had face-to-face conversations with our neighbors on several occassions. Whenever we see them we say Hi and wave, and that their youngest children have been inside our home several, several times to play. These are most of my encounters with my next door neighbors, Ralph and Yvonne.
1. When we went to look at the house that we now live in, Ralph (older Native Canadian with long dark hair pulled back, stern expression on his face) came up to us, we said hello, introduced ourselves and said we were considering buying the place. His only response: "You guys aren't from California, are you?" I replied no, and he walked off. scene.
2. A few weeks after we moved in, I introduced myself to Yvonne, and asked "So, how are you?" she replied,"Yeah, so we need all sorts of stuff--anything you want to give--like laundry soap, dish soap, and soap."
3. Ralph goes on long walks down the middle of the road and when you say hi, he pretends not to hear, even if you say it really loudly (Topher has experimented on many different levels of volume).
4. Ralph came over to borrow some laundry detergent. When I returned with it he looked inside the cup and said, "liquid?" and walked off. This has actually happened twice.
5. Ralph came over at 10:30 pm in the pouring rain to borrow an umbrella.
6. Ralph came over to borrow a red pen in the middle of the day. I gave it to him, he crossed something off on a list he had in his hand and handed me back the pen. I told him to keep it.
7. One day Topher came home, got out of his car and tried to make small talk (yet again), he said, "Looks like you're moving someone out! Who's moving?" Ralph looked and stared at him, Topher repeated, Ralph stared, Then, after some time Ralph said, "You live there?" pointing to our house. "Yeah.. ." Topher replied and Ralph said,"Oh. .. I thought some young guy lived there." then turned around and walked inside his house. We had lived in the neighborhood for a year and a half. (That was the day Topher double-clapped Ralph.)
8. Ralph came to borrow the phone (one of 12 times) and turned back as he was leaving (wha-wha-wha-what? I thought) and said, "Your husband. . . is he into computers?" I told him, no and explained in two sentences what he "does," and he ended with, ". .. He's kinda . . . an . . . eccentric guy, isn't he?" I laughed and he walked off. (Christopher, upon hearing the story, yelled, "Since when is RALPH the barometer of eccentricity?!!?!?!")
9. For no "reason," Ralph came over and had some how found out my brother's band "did well," and told me his band was cutting a CD, too. I wished him well. (We actually don't mind hearing the drums. It's no so loud and it's got a good rhythm to it.) It occurs to me on this occassion that he always calls me, "neighbor," when I call him by his first name. He has no idea what my name is. Christopher considers going up to their front door and offering them one million dollars if they can name one of us, or one of our kids.
10. Yvonne has just started coming to our ward, and is incharge of Primary birthdays. Last Sunday she looked around and said, "Who's Bro. Clark?" I laughed out loud and told her he was gone. We've been next door neighbors for two years now.
I guess I'll end on #10 because it seems appropriate. They are actually good neighbors, all things considered. Right? You don't have to be best friends with everyone in your neighborhood, right? I don't have anymore clarity thanks to night after night of 10 hours of sleep, but I'm still on my meds so I suppose there's still time to have a vision of clarity to make sense of all this.