Fred Solo

You know how God or the Universe or whatever you may call it puts things in your path repeatedly, most likely for no other purpose than his or her own amusement? I'm convinced God gifts me with putterers and finds it hilarious. Yes, I know, it could be a whole lot worse. And it's hard to believe, but I'm not really complaining either, because this one is pretty darn entertaining. I've named him Fred Solo, because he looks a lot like a younger Fred Sanford of '70s sitcom fame, and he is never without a red solo cup in his hand.

Fred is at least in his mid-fifties and lives across the street in his mother's house. He was born and will die in that house. He doesn't work but is very busy. He makes a slew of trips to places nearby all day long. Never gone for more than a few minutes at a time, I never worry, because if his truck isn't in the driveway, it soon will be.  He does have a boat, but if he leaves with it in the morning, he's always home by 5pm. He works tirelessly in his yard, on the boat, and on his truck, and everything looks shiny and new all the time. 

But Fred is a horrible time manager. Let's say he needs Windex and a paper towel to clean a truck window. Fred makes one trip in the house for the Windex, another for the paper towel (I might be exaggerating but it feels like one trip for each square), and because washing a truck window is thirsty work, a few trips are required for solo cup fill-ups. All in all, this one job could very well eat up the better part of an hour and make Fred a tad slower and wonkier than when he started.

You're right, I can close my curtains and my door any time, I am well aware. But like it was for Gladys Kravitz, things are a little slow right now, and, for some odd and probably new reason, I'm not only not bothered by him, I'm apparently a little mesmerized by him. I mean, of course I want to make him a list and find him a job and see what's in the cup, but I also wouldn't mind an explanation for him. 

One thing that does cause me some concern, though, is my dying in this house. See, a few weeks back, an ambulance and fire truck were called to a house about three doors down. I did what anyone would do - watched from my kitchen window to see what was going on. Solo? He, cup in hand, walked down there and stood at the ambulance's back door. At the BACK door. He was going to strike up a conversation with the EMTs as they hoisted the victim inside. The thought of this gives me heart palpitations. If my last breath is taken from a gurney looking up into ol' Solo's bloodshot eyes, breathing in his solo cup breath, listening to him quiz an inevitably adorable EMT about what's wrong with me.......dear Lord, just take me now.

Okay, there IS just one other thing that concerns me. When I moved in six months ago, he, his mother, a woman, and three kids lived there. My landlord and I tried to figure the family situation out, but I'm not sure how accurate we were. The woman, we were thinking, was his girlfriend and the kids belonged to her? But she moved out in the dead of night about a month later (I'm not on watch 24/7, but, luckily, Sabrina woke me up to go outside), and the kids stayed. I thought then that the kids belonged to a Solo sibling who lived elsewhere but wanted the kids to live with Grandma for whatever reason. Now, though, a different woman lives there with Solo and there is no sign of Grandma or the kids. It's all so confusing. Oh, but back to what concerns me.....

One day last month, I turned the corner and saw Grandma sitting in my driveway in her seen-better-days red truck. I honked and startled her into action and she backed out. We rolled down our windows to talk, and she said that she had started her truck in her driveway, ran back into the house for something, and came out to it rolling slowly towards my house. She, well into her 70s or 80s, was somehow able to stop it, but it left her flustered, to say the least. We were both just glad it didn't hurt her or hit the house! The truck must have been taken to the home or the cemetery, because it's not there anymore. But what worried me is that Grandma seemed to have gone with it. Then, on Friday, I saw her leaving her house on foot and with her purse! She had been dropped off by two ladies in a maroon car just a few minutes earlier. Both Solo and his woman were home as usual, yet there went Grandma, hobbling down the street in orthopedic shoes, carrying her purse. With all the places Solo has to go, couldn't he have given her a ride? What the heck is going on over there? Could it be that Solo and this new gal forced her out of her own house and now she has no car and is staying somewhere within walking distance? Please, God, don't tell me she was walking to the bus stop - that's a mile away!

I don't know how I find the time, but I was perusing a magazine this week and learned a couple of things westward where it seems wide open spaces still exist. Carrizizo, New Mexico, is having a huge sale on land and Wyoming has the lowest tax burden in the country. Knowing God like I do though, I'd probably just end up within eyeshot of a 4-legged dysfunctional putterer.