Friday, October 28, 2005

Things often are NOT as they seem

N lives on the third (and top) floor of our building. When he goes out to have a cigarette on his "terrace", he gets a birds eye's view of all the comings and goings and general business of the building. Most people don't tend to notice him up there, so he's seen some interesting things. Far too many of them involve people peeing in odd places. A lot of them involve couples. And even more of them are just the normal, boring things that people always do. These seem to be the ones that N likes the most, and goes to great lengths with his imagination to concoct inventive stories to explain the most routine activities.
He has stories to explain why my neighbor across the hall always looks up to the terrace above before he walks in the building. He has stories to explain a white woman's bi-racial daughter that, of course, involves her black neighbor. He even had decided, well before we met, that I must be "living off the government" because how else would a single mother be paying that rent, yada, yada, yada.
Most, if not all of his stories involve sketchy behavior. Cheating, stealing, stalking, etc... I often wonder if he just has a suspicious nature, or if he's making himself Mr. Suspicion with all of these gruesome crime shows, and now is starting to believe that people are always "up to something". But sometimes, if the story gets to absurd, I have to say something. As much as I hate squelching his over-active imagination, I have to tell him that the guy who looks up, is friends with the guy who lives above him, and they hang out a lot. He is not, I don't think, having an affair with the woman above me. At some point, I had to tell him that I earn all my own money. It's too bad, but things just are usually not what the seem.
For instance, about this time last year, Little's A's dad needed me to sign and notarize something with him. Something for his old 401k or something that meant nothing to me. So we took a trip to town hall, mentioned to each other that while we were there, we should see if we could get divorce papers (yes, we are divorce delinquents....very firmly separated....we just keep forgetting to tell the state!). Little A's dad and I get a long much better now that we're apart and there's no doubt in anyone's mind that that is how it was meant to be. We've probably had a friendlier separation than marriage.
We entered town hall, we both had a silent joke about some old guy wearing pink plaid shorts and long black socks at the onset of winter. We were chuckling on our way up the stairs when we encountered another old guy. When he saw us, he remarked, "Ah, you two look happy. You must be here to get married." We just looked at him. What could we say? If he only knew. If he only knew, that at one time, we had climbed those very stairs to get married, and now we were climbing them with divorce papers in mind.
It always has struck me as odd that this guy saw marriage coming for us. Yeah, we were laughing, but we weren't holding hands, or being at all affectionate with each other, yet for some reason, he thought it must be wedding time.
Who knows? Maybe he was just the new Justice of the Peace, trying to drum up business by offering marriage to random male/female combos. OR maybe he was just mis-seeing, like N does, like I do, like we all do. There's so much lost when you look with your eyes. Doesn't it make you wonder just what you actually know? We think that seeing is believing, and yet so much of our seeing is so inadequate that it leads us to completely false conclusions. It reminds of the this book I read in college, Only Don't Know. It's a good read, easy enough for even a flunky wanna-be buddhist like myself. But more than that. It's the only advice that seems to reflect reality.

4 Comments:

Blogger V said...

And I forgot the rest of the story! DOH! I'll add it later....just for you, roo! :)

2:16 PM  
Anonymous roo said...

You'd better. And you'd better lend me that book. Is it Thich Naat Hahn?

I'm so excited that you've finally started telling that story-- the courthouse story. I've wanted it to be a story so much I wanted to write it, but it wasn't mine to tell.

I'm anxiously awaiting the second installment...

9:59 PM  
Anonymous roo said...

Oops... Next time I'll try reading the links *before* commenting.

Later!

10:07 PM  
Blogger BC said...

This post gave me chills! You are such an amazing writer, V! I was laughing at N's crazy stories!!!

1:45 PM  

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