Enos was not the ideal neighbor. He was a putterer. This in itself is not a sin. You'd expect a man of a certain age, one who enjoys his power equipment, to putter.
Every puttering episode took a full day. It started with the radio. He'd being it outside and tune it to the light jazz channel. I like jazz. I'm a great fan of J.J. Johnson, Diz, early Miles, the Desmond/Brubeck quartet, Sonny Rollins... but Enos's music was jazz in the same way Pat Boone's was rock and roll. That is to say, it wasn't.
Once Enos had forcibly changed the neighborhood ambiance into something like the cereal aisle at Hannaford, the serious work could begin. No matter how small the project, Enos began by taking everything out of his garage and lining it up neatly on the driveway. Everything. Boxes, toys for Keenan, lawnmowers- yes, plural- snowblower, EVERYTHING. Then he found the object he needed, like a paint can or a bottle of weed killer, did the job, and put everything back in again.
I'm quite sure that he thought ahead to his next project, and put the things he'd need at the back of the garage so he'd be able to perform the same ritual next time.
Since he was home on disability, the puttering wasn't confined to the weekends. Emjay would call me up at work sometimes.
"He's doing it again!"
"What is it this time?"
"I think he's waxing his van."
"Everything out of the garage?"
"Everything. Why does HE get to pick the soundtrack for the neighborhood?", she'd complain.
"Play some opera."
"Oh, sure, if that wouldn't be the perfect crazy white lady response. And you're the one who likes opera."
"Play your music then."
"I'd still be able to hear Kenny G. That might ruin the Cowboy Junkies forever," she'd sigh.
All day, every day sometimes when the weather was nice. Puttering. Shuffling along at middle-aged disability speed. With happy sunny major key dreck that some apostates call jazz.
But of course, he was keeping the house up. And Enos was a lot of things, but he was no meathead.
One day his lawsuit for the disability was settled. I found out when I saw him and Jill on their porch, having a meeting with a financial planner. In a week, he'd bought a place in Florida. In a month, he'd sold out to a couple who live in California, and the place was rented.
It went to a group of women graduate students first. We had a noise problem exactly once, on someone's birthday. After that school year, the first meatheads came. Then more, then meathead subletters, then still more meatheads.
I miss puttering. I miss Kenny G. I miss Enos.
This post is Mostly True.
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