The Old Guy in the Neighborhood – Part 1

Seems like yesterday that I pulled into town with my 85 320i Euro E30. It had a small two-liter six, and no air conditioning, so getting out of Scottsdale in July was a great thing indeed. This lightweight, perky car was really suited to the tree lined, twisty roads and moderate climate of Washington state. Oddly enough, I made it 1403 miles from my old place in Scottsdale all the way to the I-5 North bridge between Washington and Oregon before getting nailed squarely in the middle of my windshield with a large rock. I swear I could see it coming right at me. Ugh.

I arrived in Vancouver, Washington a couple weeks ahead of my wife and daughter to get the house in shape. Floors to refinish, walls to paint, and a wall of the ugliest silver padded wallpaper on the main wall I’d seen since the 70s. It looked like an alternate backdrop for The Dating Game, and the house even had those gigantic track lights that looked like Folgers coffee cans, complete with massive incandescent bulbs inside. Not to mention the rotary dimmer for when the mood changed.

That crazy wall took two solid days to scrape and steam off. When I got to the very bottom corner there was a gigantic hole. As a victim of watching way too many cheezy horror movies, I suspected a gigantic Northwestern rodent lying in wait, ready to exit the hole and attack. Fortunately, this did not happen, and I patched the hole without incident.

The following day, basking in the glory of having a 2 ½ car garage and only one car to park in it (knowing it would never be this clean again), my neighbor Amos came over and introduced himself. Nice Bimmer, is it a Euro car? I liked this guy already. We had a chat about the car and his time spent in Europe during WWII. He and his wife met working together on the Enigma project. Crazy.

During a spirited ride around the neighborhood, Amos filled me in on who to steer clear of and who the really friendly people were on the block. I’d expect nothing less from an ex-intelligence guy. Back home he introduced me to his wife Ruth, smiled, and said, “it’s a nice neighborhood, but you’re going to be the old guy in the neighborhood next.” Then he added, “Stay off that I-5 bridge as much as you can, lots of construction. We replace a windshield at least once a year.”