Sunday, March 22, 2009

Chapter 3, Part 5 - The People

Marilyn and Sam – Marilyn and Sam live in the condo right next door to Mom and Dad. They’re not Mom and Dad’s friends so much as they are their neighbors. Sam is a retired painter, and he likes to make a little extra money on the side by painting people’s apartments. Sadly, Sam is getting on in years. His hands shake when he holds anything as he suffers from arthritis (he’s 82, after all), so his painting is pretty sloppy. Unfortunately, none of his friends or neighbors has the heart to tell him. So Sam has painted the bedroom in Mom and Dad’s apartment, along with nearly everyone else’s condo in the building.

Marilyn is Sam’s wife, and she sometimes helps him with the painting. Her strokes are a little neater, but the problem with her is that she doesn’t stop talking. When Mom and Dad had them over to paint their bedroom, Mom made the mistake of saying, “How are you doing, Marilyn?”

Rather than just say, “fine,” like most people do, she actually answered the question and then some. “I’m okay,” she answered, “but we’ve had better days; Sam’s arthritis is acting up again. Thank goodness this rain is supposed to stop. We haven’t been to the pool in a week. Although, we have gone out to dinner quite a bit. Last night we ate at…”

Before she was even finished talking, Mom was thinking to herself, “I am having my bedroom painted by an 82 year-old man with an arthritic hand, and I have to listen to this woman who doesn’t shut up. Is this what I retired for?”

After listening to Marilyn talk on and on for three hours and being less than thrilled with the job Sam did painting their bedroom, Mom and Dad have since gone out of their way to avoid seeing Sam and Marilyn in the hallways. Not that they don’t like them, it’s just that Marilyn talks too much, and Mom and Dad feel that at their age they don’t have a minute to waste listening to her. “And besides,” Mom says, “I don’t want Sam to find out we need to get our bathroom painted.”
If you ever find yourself in the market to buy a condo at Harbor View and you find one with shoddy-painted walls, you can be assured it was painted by Shaky Sam and his wife Marilyn the Mouth.

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