“…Take me home!”
I arrived in Paradise, lowering my car window to taste the crisp mountain air. The house was a cozy, woodsy abode. I knocked on the door. Before me stood a handsome man, about my age. Paradise ain’t bad, I thought. God bless John Denver!
“Welcome. Let me get my mom for you.”
Sarah greeted me with a hug. She and her son Michael, the handsome one, walked me to the side room that would be my home for the week. Equipped with a kitchen, bedroom, bath, and electric wheelchair, I’d be just fine.
“I’ll get that chair out of the way for you,“ she said. I was grateful, as the bulky apparatus took up a big portion of space. She and Michael appeared fully ambulatory, so I was confused. Then, she explained. “It was a great deal. I only paid $150 for it at an estate sale. Otherwise, those things cost a fortune, and I may need it some day.” Ah, it all became clear.
“Is it pretty safe around here?” I asked, simultaneously changing the subject and setting my bags down.
“Yeah, it’s pretty safe, although I had my purse stolen from my car one night. And, well, there are some other more violent crimes,” she mumbled.
Note to self: Don’t leave purse in car overnight. Note in response to note to self: Who do you think I am, self? Second note to self: This is a hush-hush town. Don’t raise sensitive issues like violent crime.
“Mom, I’m going to that health lecture at the church,” Michael announced. There’s something about the way he said it. I can’t put my finger on it, but his emphasis on “health” was eerie. It’s as if he’s had arguments with her about the validity of church sponsored health lectures, or as if he’s got some embarrassing medical condition that they don’t discuss openly, or as if she has simply been wanting him – a middle aged man who’s living with his mother – to get out of the house from time to time. At any rate, my attraction died that moment. Additionally, I would lock my bedroom door at night. Just in case.
“…To the place…”
The next morning, I sat on the porch of The Writing Loft to meet with Nora. So I thought. Ten minutes into waiting nervously, I was approached by a woman adorning long golden brown hair, bright pink lipstick, and conservative attire. “Oh, there you are. Great to meet you,” she said, offering a hug. “You’re in the wrong place. Let me walk you over. I’m Mimi.”
Mimi escorted me to the other house, a few yards away, for our first staff meeting. Over the next few days, Nora and I discussed salary and other matters. Things fell into place, bit by bit, and I adjusted fairly smoothly. Nora’s remarkably competent yet modest demeanor kept me assured. Mimi’s vibrant personality and bright pink lipstick kept me entertained.
Having secured the job, I got focused on finding a new home. Call me picky, but I decided not to pursue the place that was advertised as “Newly remolded.” I prefer not to invest in mold – even new mold. I also bypassed the wonderful apartment “Close to cancer.” Could they possibly mean “campus”? What a horrifying typo!
Rather, I scheduled a meeting with a phlebotomist who’s looking for a housemate. Did I spell that word right? Don’t fret; I didn’t know what that was either, until I looked it up. Now, I’m not keen on living with someone who draws blood for a living. Fortunately, I have a few other options, like a bedroom the size of a closet or cohabitation with Barbi and Bruno by Chico State.
I’ll most likely need to say a fond farewell to my bed. We know it hasn’t seen much action over the years anyway, and I’ve got a sofa bed that’s perfectly comfy. Bottom line: I need to downsize, but I’m fine with that.
It’s worth it. I’m excited, and this will be interesting. I like interesting.
I like Paradise and its verge (e.g., Chico). It’s a truly beautiful part of the world.
God bless John Denver.
Note to readers: I’m heading to Paradise again, for house hunting and some work at the Loft. I’ll return Friday. Have a great week. I’ll miss you. Wish me luck. Thanks!