Sunday, January 11, 2015

"Body Count"


My wife likes the house we have over in Surprise, Arizona.  The demographics are more attractive to her.   She likes the sound of bouncing balls and roller skates and scooters and trampolines whoops and back yard pool splashing.  And those five and six and seven year olds offset we "sixty-somethings" and hack the demographic age numbers quite a bit.

I don't care for the new home.  It's peopled with folks who fill up their garages with $500 bucks worth of junk and park their $50,000 dollar automobiles on the clear violation of HOA rules.  And, at my age, if I had to tolerate a boom box blasting anywhere in my vicinity, I'd be likely to choke them to death.

Instead, I prefer the old 60's house, in the peaceful retirement community.  Where the old folks have long since shed the excess refuse of their life and put the damn car (or golf cart) in the garage where it ought to be.  I enjoy awaking to the quietude of singing birds and breezes shaking the last of the winter leaves from the tree.  The sidewalks are barren of portable basketball hoops, or abandoned kiddie bikes or fast food leavings.

Oh sure, I imagine there's some noise somewhere around here.  Perhaps an old man, resting easy in his 60's era barcalounger, with the TV turned too complete denial that he needs hearing aids. But I have no neighbors like that, so life is good here amidst the Geritol set.

That is, until we have a day like today.  As I'm getting ready to sit down for breakfast this morning I hear the dreaded sound of emergency sirens...and they seem to be right outside my door.  So I walk to the window and look out, only to see my next door neighbor is the latest casualty....the "body count" in the war on old age hitting oh so close to home.  Yes, I've seen this scene before.  The emergency responders leap from the truck, run into the house and wheel the gurney in, then out for the quick trip to the emergency room.  

No word yet from anyone in the neighborhood.  Sometimes they come back quickly, and sometimes never again.  Some of those I don't know personally give a clue only when the "Estate Sale" goes up on the front lawn, followed closely by "House for Sale".   My wife, no spring chicken herself, just doesn't like it.  I keep telling her dying is just the cost of living, but she won't buy it....says old people make her feel old.  If I wake up with a stiff back and am bent over a bit she goes into mild hysterics and tells me to straighten up my back...that I look like one of those poor hump-backed folks that frequent the grocery store on senior day.  

Though I don't admit it, and am fairly good at facing the prospect of death, I guess if I had to be honest I would have to admit I'd rather go while I'm still so damn good looking.  And the "body count" does get to me.  As I stand at the window and watch the elderly neighbor being carted off to the ER, the grim reaper is whispering in my ear....softly...but loud enough for me to hear.

Meantime, I'll be pulling for my neighbor.  Hope she comes home soon and runs off those damn sign people.

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