Sometimes, Joe bugs me, but I just found out that he is also a nuisance to those around us. In fact, he's like a plague on society that's threatening to spread...or at least one of our neighbors must think so. Today, we had a visit from a Tehama County Environmental Health agent. Joe is toxic to his environment, so much so that someone complained that his compost pile smells like...well, it seems that it smells just like a compost pile.
The agent who had to visit us agreed that it sure enough smells like a compost pile.


I know Joe, and I can say with certainty that his pile is going nowhere, despite any complaints. For some reason, he has been extremely proud of that compost pile, and I have to hear about it every 3 days when he turns it over. What kind of stuff is in there, you may ask. It's just grass clippings and fruit and vegetable material. We use our juicer a lot and that creates food for the compost. We also can stewed tomatoes and so there are a lot of tomato skins out there. I'm afraid I don't understand Joe's fascination with it.
Even though we may be earth friendly, it's not easy being green, and it seems that it's not easy on our neighbor either, despite the fact that the wind does not even direct the aroma toward his property. Still, yesterday he spent most of the day puttering in his driveway with a gas mask on...sending the message that Joe is a nuisance.
And don't I know it?
I wonder if this relationship between neighbors can be saved...or if our marriage can be saved, for that matter.
Like I said, Joe bugs me. He says things like squarsh instead of squash. Such a violation of proper speech would lead one to believe that he would also say warsh instead of wash, but he doesn't. He says wush.
This kind of inconsistency drives me crazy.

Lately, I've been seeing a lot of my nephews. These boys are as dear to me as my own kids, and while I call them boys and think about them as boys, over the past few years, their voices have deepened and they tower over me. Calvin loves to read and he is always asking me about books and authors. Listening to him analyze written works has been an English teacher's delight. Last week, Joe was listening in as we were discussing genres of poetry and authors, and so I decided to throw him one to analyze. "Okay, Joe." I said. "This is a poem by William Carlos Williams called The Red Wheelbarrow. Tell me what it means."
And I recited:
So much depends
upon a red wheelbarrow
glazed with rainwater
beside the white chickens.

And without hesitation, Joe yelled triumphantly, "That's a poem about compost! You've got your water, your nitrogen from the chicken manure, and a wheelbarrow to put it in! That guy knows how to write!"
It's quite an original interpretation and quite insightful, but I think that if he lets it lie for 3 days
and then turns it over, he might be able to break down the meaning a bit more.

The agent from Environmental Health talked to our daughter, so when Joe got home from work, he gave him a call and then later walked around for an hour gloating saying, "The agent said that my compost pile looks beautiful and smells great! And don't forget...the guy is a double licensed agent, so he knows what he's talking about!" So what to do about our neighbor and his mask? Joe is oblivious to his grief and says that this display is nothing but a jealous reaction to the best compost pile our neighborhood has ever seen or smelled.
He actually thinks that people are jealous of his compost pile and he says that the neighbor
is being a bit of martyr because he doesn't have a compost pile of his own.
Calvin said, "Every time someone plays a martyr, I die a little bit inside."
I love sarcasm.
Certainly, a compost pile seems to be small stuff in the grand scheme of things.
What's the saying?
Don't sweat the small stuff, because the small stuff is sweating in the compost pile...something like that.
I'm losing my hearing...my sense of smell is heightened and the pile, closer to our swimming pool than the neighbor's driveway, doesn't bother me in the least. However, Joe's attitude does.
There are people in the world who think that their compost doesn't stink.
And then there's Joe, who thinks his compost smells good.
Now that he thinks that someone important likes his compost pile, he'll be unbearable to live with.






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