Dog walks often take me down this particular street of mostly well-kept yards and fresh paint. Gone-to-work quiet during the day, Paul from Brussels out as an exception.
Paul is 77, drags around a portable oxygen tank feeding his lungs via nose. Seeing those contraptions conjure a foreboding vibe of demise, my brother used one before dearly departing. Intellectually I know people use them temporarily, then wait for medical company pick-up. Good riddance.
Paul’s breathmobile followed him with quiet hissing pops, calling "Live on this street?" No, around corner. Interview covered my year in the neighborhood, birth in Connecticut, yes I had one son, Noah, and my dogs? Two female, one male.
Then he crossed me up, even told me it was a tricky question. Nationality? I said Irish/Scottish and he scoffed his reply. Paul told me I was American, because I was born and raised here. He was Belgian—from Brussels.
Paul loves America, proud of his three daughter and 13 grand kids, good Americans. What he wants here, though, is a more Brussels-type state of mind, people hanging out and talking, not hiding in houses, then rushing about.
Now 15 minutes beyond permitted walk break (working at home discipline). But Paul wanted to mix, and I was the mixer this warm May afternoon. It was more than okay to hear about Paul’s Brussels’ state of mind. He said come by again; his house had the flagpole out front. Old Glory flapping proud, delivered by way of Belgium.