On Friday morning I brought down all the Christmas decorations out of the attic. My wife, Miranda Kopfschmertzen, likes to make the Christmas season last as long as possible without trampling on any other holiday’s thunder. As she went about letting the yuletide wash over the house, I set to my husbandly task and started putting up the house lights.
The morning went on and various neighbors passed by. Usually they would make some light-hearted quip about how early I was putting up the lights. I would then come back with a witty retort. The laugh track would play and then we’d go back to our respective tasks.
As I was finishing up (working on the palm tree on the right), a couple came to visit my next-door-neighbor. Again the witty banter ensued between me and the dude. Then the lady with the dude fondled the dead bougainvillea hanging from the eve and said with a hint of snideness, “You can probably throw this away now.” Actually, that bougainvillea was dormant. It comes back with vigor once the weather is right. But right now, with the dryness and the cold nights…
So, I tried to be polite with my reply because I really like my neighbor. It didn’t work. I said, “Thank you, I know.” Those are the words I said. But anyone who was standing there would have definitely heard, “Old Crone, mind your own business. Clearly I am busy with something else right now. And if I want to have a dead bougainvillea to decorate my house I will. In fact, now I am going to leave it there in your honor.”
She definitely heard the inflection because she turned her gaze from the bougainvillea to me and said, and this is the cruncher, “…because I’ve been threatening to throwing it away myself.” She doesn’t even live here! Over the line! This is not ‘nam; there are rules.
The couple turned and walked into my neighbor’s house.