While we were on our vacation, our backyard apple tree was knocked down in a wind/thunder/rain storm.
It’s a bummer because the apple tree itself, was a nice accoutrement to our backyard. It evened out the entire feng shui of the property. Plus, it was always the first thing that caught my eye when I looked out my kitchen window.
A neighbor and I cut down the remainder of the tree for firewood. My neighbor took his turn and cut horizontally into the base of the tree. Black ants poured out, like the scene from The Mummy when the scarab beatles attacked Indiana-Jones wannabe Brendan Fraser and made him scream like a little girl.
Since my neighbor is almost 60 years old, I had the unique pleasure of dragging the deathly remains of the apple tree to a burn pile.
Now, in Bath, Ohio, it’s illegal to have bonfires. Big roaring bonfires. However, I have only witnessed one summons from the fire department since I moved here in 2006. Some knucklehead across the street was burning leaves in his front yard on an Autumn Saturday morning, which created a blanket of smoke visible from the outer space.
So, this past Saturday night, I decided to light said pile of brush on fire. We didn’t invite anyone over. We didn’t buy stuff for s'mores. We didn’t haul a keg next to the fire and start drinking. We just lit the goddamn thing and watched what happened.
Prior to starting the bonfire, I poured about a half-gallon of gas onto the dry wood, just to ensure that we would have a successful fire.
After a big ‘POOF’, the fire took shape. And started getting higher, and hotter, and higher, and hotter. In fact, the highness and the hotness of the fire caught the attention of my neighbors who live in a cul-de-sac about a half-mile away from my house. It was a man and woman, and they both had beverages in their hand complete with red, puffy Catholic faces.
“Hey there,” the guy said. “We saw the fire and thought we’d come over and introduce ourselves.”
As I was shaking their hands, I already had my reservations about these two. Something shouted out ‘nosy neighbor worried about forest fire’ instead of ‘future friends’.
We started talking about life, liberty and the future of Bath.
“So, how do you like it here?”the dude asked.
“Pretty good, we moved in about…”
“Holy shit,” the guy interrupted. “Is that a gas can!” He pointed the red can that said “GASOLINE” on the front.
“Yeah, I thought I’d toss a little on the fire to, you know, get it started.”
The couple looked at each other.
“That’s a cidiot for ya!” the man said and they both cackled like hyenas.
I chuckled. “What’s a cidiot?”
“Oh nothing,” the woman answered. “Just our little term for city folks who move out to the country and try to do country things.”
The smile was wiped off my face.
“Well,” I said. “Technically, this isn’t the country. I mean we’re about a mile and a half from an Old Navy. And I grew up in the country (I did the fake parentheses with my hands) for 18 years of my life until I moved away for college.”
“Hey, hey, don’t get upset,” the guy said. “We was only joking. A little mineral oil, dry newspaper or motor oil will do the trick just fine.”
“Thanks for the tip,” I said almost instantly forgetting his advice. Just to spite this guy, I already knew the next fire I was going to start was going to be with my good, ol' trusty gas can.
After a couple more minutes of conversation they moseyed along their way. Pointing at trees. Taking about property and other stuff that ‘country’ people talk about.
Don’t know what my point was.
Maybe it was my new introduction to the word ‘cidiots’.
Maybe it’s, as a get older and older, I’m starting to call people out on their bullshit.
Maybe I’m just sick of people that think they know everything, but – after they open their mouth and start talking for a couple seconds – you realize they don’t really know anything at all.
Now that I think of it, it’s probably the latter.