Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Drunk off Gingerbeer

Emma, the lady across the street--the same one who threatened to do away with Murphy the cat if she caught him in her garden again--gave us her old air conditioner today. It's now installed in the window of my former bedroom, where my housemate's autistic son currently has his therapy during the day. Normally I sleep there at night on an inflatable mattress that's actually pretty comfortable. But tonight my housemate beat me to it, seeing as it's a good eight degrees cooler in there.

This heat really is like nothing I've ever experienced. Coupled with the smog, I think that a great many people are suffering--myself included. My housemate's son, however, is sleeping soundly on the bed behind me. He's part African (the first Afro-Polish Highlander in existence, my housemate likes to boast), and perhaps constitutionally more equipped to deal with the heat. Since I was there at his birth, I feel a special bond with this child. My housemate was under sedation, so my hearing his first cries through the door of the hospital room was the first that anyone who personally cared experienced of him ex utero .

He is utterly lovable. His autism makes him quite undemanding; long, quiet walks where he stares at cars and lights, and singing songs he recognizes from television cartoons, coupled with regular feeding and diaper changes make him the happiest boy you would ever meet. But I worry about his future, how he will develop and make his way through the world. My housemate is doing everything she can to give him a fighting chance.

But this is the kind of neighbourhood we're living in: when it's deadly hot someone gives us a free air conditioner. When I wanted to shave my head, our other neighbour lent me his clippers and gave us a bottle of strong, homemade Portuguese wine to boot. Complaining of the heat to my other neighbour, she offered to lend me her tent so I could sleep in the back yard. Arnie across the way gives us loaves of bread he gets from his church, and the neighbourhood kids often come around to play with the box of spare action figures I leave by the back porch.

I don't really know what I have that I could give back to anyone. Sometimes I feel so cold and detached, even in the midst of this heat wave. Our neighbours, the Bease crew, the people at church have all been extremely hospitable. I feel undeserving but grateful. And you, dear readers, who take time to read these postings, what could I ever say that is worth the inestimable value of your attention? I guess all I could say is thank you.


Mountain Mama said...

Flatlander, you just opened up your heart and let yourself fall out.
Your love for your housemate's son is admirable. He is blessed to have you in his life. And your wish to do 'something' for your neighbors is touching. Apparently you are blessed with some very caring neighbors and Church friends.
I have often wanted to do something special for poeple who have blessed my life, and at times I can give a gift of some sort,
but I believe the most gracious thing we can do for each other is pray. Many times it is the 'only' thing we can afford to do, financially or timewise.
Those we are praying for generally never know, but they see the result in their their daily walk.
You sound live a very good man. I am sure our Heavenly Father is well pleased with you.

Michael said...

How hot is actually getting there?
It was 102 yesterday. The forecast says 105 today and 106. I heard it could get as 110 this week. Now thats hot.

flatlander said...

Mountain Mamma, I really appreciate your kind words and widsom. Blessings to you too!

Michael, yesterday it was about 98, though everyone calls it 35 around here. So it's much hotter in your neck of the woods. I guess I'll just take this weather as California training, in case I ever come to visit. I would think the fall would be cooler, though.

Michael said...

98 is pretty hot. anything over 95 is too hot fro me. 98, 106 there is not much of a difference, at that point, its just hot.

Fall, and spring are very nice.

mgc said...

flatlander, i look at your posts once in a while (got it from michael-spiltwine) and enjoy your thoughts very much. you have a great sense of humor and kind heart.

you ask what do you have to give to others? sometimes simply being there for them and loving them as they are is enough. also sometime, by accepting their gifts and blessings you are allowing them to feel good about helping others. not to mention that your love for the "afro-polish" boy is a gift that is priceless and something that should never go overlooked.

and yes california in spring is very nice.

flatlander said...

Rock on, MGC!