The other day my Porch was crowded with some regulars. They can all tell a good story.
Marlowe was there. He’s retired from making his living on the sea, but when he’s not on my porch, he’s sailing around Long Island Sound in that cruising yawl he inherited from Joe. In the fall he’ll sail himself down to Florida and stay on his boat down there.
Makita, my wife’s dog, was reclining beside my chair. Her job is to keep us from pontificating. Her sense of pontification is better than her sense of smell. Once someone accidentally switched the TV to a channel on which Bill O’Reilly was speaking. Before we could change the channel, Makita had knocked over the television and was trying to shake it to death. The TV broke along with one of her teeth. Oh well, as Sensible Dave says, “there’s nothing on.” She’s also a spectacular Frisbee catcher, when in the mood.
Makita, The Guardian, or “She who tenaciously guards against pontificators who take themselves too seriously”
I was telling them about my new blog on porches.
Level said, “A blog on porch sitting? That sounds exciting.” By which, of course, he meant it sounded boring. He is always careful to not be overly supportive. I believe he feels it is unmanly.
Yes that’s really his name – Level. Well it’s actually a nickname. None of us know his real name. His explanation is that he wanted a name that was spelled the same way in both directions. It’s probably not a coincidence that he has a son named Bob and a daughter named Anna. He calls his wife Wolfflow, or, after a couple of glasses of wine, Flowwolf. Don’t ask me which is her real name, or if either is. Wolfflow’s laughter is loud and contagious. When she’s around we all laugh more.
We all like Level, but he can go on…and on. His forearms often have little tooth scratches from Makita. He’s a pontificator, but he doesn’t take himself too seriously – which makes all the difference.
Level had to sort of shout his unsupportive comment because he was sitting off the porch on a lawn chair in the grass, smoking a cigar. Cigar smoke makes Marlowe seasick. Me too, but since Marlowe was quicker to point this out, I was content to say nothing and let him be the poor sport. Level just smokes one cigar a day, which is fortunate since he spends a lot of time on, or in the vicinity of, my porch.
Becky said, “Hmm. What are you going to say about porches?” Becky is a ghost whisperer, though she doesn’t believe in ghosts. “What kind of God would create a world where unhappy spirits have to roam around all alone?” she often asks. My porch visitors are not generally the type that believe in, or even think about, ghosts. Still Becky seems to pick up something that makes a good story – ghosts of the past, we believe.
The woman who lives here has a miniature dachshund. The woman is friendly but her little dachshund isn’t. She warns me it may attack Makita. It is about the size of Makita’s head. (Mark Twain said, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” But that’s just stupid.) We’ve never seen anyone sit on this porch. But Becky will tell us a story of this porch’s ghosts.
In addition to being a ghost whisperer, Becky manages the local health food co-op. She’s in her fifties, with graying hair, and has one of those faces that people just like to look at. It gets more that way with age.
Sensible Dave said, “Is it about porches, or the people who visit them?”
“Doesn’t have to be just one or the other,” stated Becky. Unlike, Level, she always makes me feel encouraged. They are antipodes in this area.
I really like it when Sensible Dave is there. I don’t have favorites, of course, but if I did, it would be him. We also call him Non-Vietnamese Dave, or NV for short. He’s four feet and eleven inches tall, but he tells people he’s 5 feet. Then, with a straight face, he says, “that’s pretty tall for a Vietnamese guy.” Since he is not Vietnamese, this gets mixed reactions.
SD (Sensible Dave) is small, thin, relaxing to be around, and when not on the porch, we generally see him in the company of a pretty woman or three. His pick-up line is, “I was abducted by aliens. I’m the only one. The other stories are all bogus.” I believe this is true. So does everyone else who knows him. He comes across as so darn sane, that people believe him. That’s one of his gifts. He could have made a lot of money fooling people, but of course, he never lies (except for a little white one about his height, or when it doesn’t really matter and he can make it a better story with more truth than the actual facts alone may reveal). Nor would he ever take advantage of another person.
Two floors of never-used porch. But good ghost stories here too.
According to SD, the aliens chose him because, according to their analysis, he is the most sensible person on earth. They are befuddled by humans and needed someone sensible to talk to. A blog about his experiences and conversations with the aliens is coming soon. It should be good. (Side note: No he’s not an alter-ego. His name just happens to really be Dave).
Another of Sensible Dave’s gifts is that he’s a good listener. He makes you think you’re the most interesting person he ever met. This is because everyone is truly interesting to him. Or so I believe.
“Well,” I said, starting to answer SD’s question, “it started as just a way to experiment with, and learn, WordPress. I’ve got plans for bigger things.” No one laughed. Becky nodded supportively. Level didn’t. “We walk around these streets everyday and almost never see anyone on all these great porches around here. At first, we assumed, it was because of the cold weather. But after the weather got better, then beautiful almost everyday, still the porches remained empty.”
“It’s been one of the best summers I can remember,” commented Marlowe. “Beautiful sailing.”
“Someone wrote a book about that,” said Level. “Years ago I heard him on public radio, I think. Why people don’t use front porches or put them on houses anymore. So someone’s already done your subject.”
“Yeah,” I said, not letting Level go on. “That was our thinking. Why don’t people use porches?”
“Television?” suggested Becky.
“Well, anyway,” I continued, ignoring Becky’s oversimplified insight to my rhetorical question, “now it’s taken on this sort of symbolic metaphorical direction.”
“Fun,” said Sensible Dave. “We’ll be in it.” It wasn’t a question. “And other people, my aliens, and Becky’s ghosts, and lot’s of other stuff.”
“Then it should be pretty interesting,” said Marlowe.
Ghosts of The Porch and Makita’s frisbee. A rare empty moment.
“Yes, the world is an illusion. But Truth is always being shown there.” (Quoted from “The Dermis Probe”, by Indries Shaw)
Death twitches my ear. “Live,” he says, “I am coming.” ~Virgil