Five people approached me as I worked or read outside my home yesterday. Four of them wanted to see my tiny house. The fifth was the owner of the park in which I live, Park Delta Bay.
The visitors came in two groups. Three men slowly drove down G-Row as I contemplated a large package which I did not think that I could carry into the house. I had gone over to my neighbor’s place to ask for help but found no one at home.
I thought I recognized the car and gave a little wave before realizing my error. They took this as an indication of welcome and called out, asking if I lived in the park. A few minutes later they had pulled into a space at my invitation. One of them hoisted the package onto my porch. Another chortled, “Oh, I’ve been wanting to see one of these for a long time!” I gestured to the open door and he slid into Angel’s Haven while I stood on the porch answering questions.
A few hours later, a young man from Japan bowed slightly, a nod really, a gesture, and asked if I could spare a moment. He clasped my offered hand. He nearly refused the chair into which I indicated he should sit, but finally did. He told me about his start-up which makes water filtration systems for emergency use. They want to start marketing the systems to furnish RVs and tiny houses. He’d flown to the U.S. to look for business. His mild manner and wide smile charmed me.
Later, closer to evening, the owner of the park stopped on one of his circuits around the 1/4 mile loop on which we live. He spoke of TinyFest California and my offer to help at the builder’s booth which he will be staffing. Pausing again on his second circuit, he mentioned that my propane tank seemed a little precarious. We walked around to look at it. Before he left, we talked about evaporative coolers. My research suggests that they work in the Central Valley climate which is cool and dry, with a few hot weeks. He seemed skeptical. We debated this for a few minutes, and then stood examining my house jacks. He recommended adding a couple and setting them on larger pavers for more stability. More jacks would also solve the slight sway of the house, barely detectable but disconcerting.
Alone in my writing loft a little while later, I scrolled through Facebook, looking for news of my friends and the Saturday evening concerts in Kansas City. I stopped on an image of a musician whom I know; a man who’s maybe in his late 30s. He’s a stocky guy, short, intense, with piercing eyes. I clicked the play button and watched a full minute of the man urging his friends and family — “the ones whom I love” — not to hit him. “I know I say some weird shit,” he tells them. “But don’t fucking hit me! Don’t smack my shoulder, don’t slap my back, don’t thump me on the back of my head! I don’t like it!” He never laughed, not once. His mouth set in a grim line as the video ended.
I watched it through twice, then a third time, stunned by its starkness. I wanted to respond. I typed a few words, deleted them, starting again. After several tries, what I had written seemed an acceptable mix of empathy and validation. I hit the return key and posted my remarks. A few seconds later, the little heart icon lit with his name beside it. I let myself exhale.
It’s the third day of the fifty-fourth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.