Stop!” the Urban Farmer says. “That’s Hans.”
It’s just after ten on a Sunday morning when the Urban Farmer spies her nephew trucking down Leary Way. She and the Co-habitator pass him in a flash. The Urban Farmer knows it’s him by the monster-sized earphones clamped to his ears.
The Urban Farmer grows anxious. Why hasn’t Co-hab turned the Prius around? “Aren’t we going to give him a ride?” she asks.
Co-hab turns right onto Thirty-ninth, waits for traffic to clear and hangs left back onto Leary. Sigh. He was just looking for a good turn-around spot.
Co-hab spins the car around a block further and pulls the car up to the sidewalk. Hans is dressed up. He’s wearing a dark charcoal gray suit, albeit one size too big (the younger set seems to favor over-sized clothing), a loud tie (which the Urban Farmer refrains from peering at too closely. She suspects it may be adorned with cartoon characters), and a colorful shirt. Altogether Hans presents a package of cheer.
Hans runs up. Although the mercury has surely ascended past 70, he is not dripping with sweat and is only somewhat winded. The Urban Farmer is impressed.
She swings open her door before Hans has time to side-step the Prius bumper and charge through the intersection. “Hi, Hans. Can we give you a ride?” She and Co-hab don’t see Hans very often. It will be nice to catch up. She’ll use this opportunity to get to know him a little better.
“Yeah. Thanks.” Hans hurtles himself into the back seat.
“Are you on your way to work?”
“Yeah.” He arranges his lanky self more comfortably.
“We thought you might be,” she says. “Although you could be coming from church.” Mars Hill is near by. Young people favor it. She doesn’t really think fundamentalist-leaning but smiley-faced Mars Hill is Hans’ thing, but one never knows. It could be a girl he’s interested in goes.
“Really?” the Urban Farmer thumbs through her memory bank. “Weren’t you working for some software company? Something with computers?”
“That’s my brother.”
Brother? Since when did Hans get a brother? As far as the Urban Farmer knows, Hans has only one sibling, a sister. Did Heidi get a sex change no one told her about? Maybe Hans means a good friend.
Her next question was to ask how his parents are. She glances more carefully at the individual in the back seat. “But aren’t you Hans?” she tries to keep her voice upbeat; tries to mask the dawning disappointment.
“No,” Hans says. “I’m Connor.”
The Urban Farmer feels a bit deflated, but decides to make the best of it. Connor is so cheery, he’ll do for a nephew stand-in. When she asks Co-hab about the incident later, he’ll tell her he knew right away it wasn’t Hans. Hans wouldn’t have been able to run like that. True. Hans would’ve gotten winded. He would have needed to slow down and walk.
Connor gives them directions to Kyle’s. They learn that Connor grew up in Yakima.
“My aunt lives there,” the Urban Farmer says. “I don’t suppose you know her. Susanne Fabian?” It’s a long shot, but it would be nice to establish a family connection, even in a round-about, six degrees of separation type way.
Connor admits that he does not.
They drop him off across the street from the pizzeria. The Urban Farmer thinks about asking Connor for his e-mail (maybe she could add him to a faux relatives list), but refrains.
Overall, the encounter was a pleasant one. They did a young person a good turn and learned a bit more about the folks living in their community.
They agree they’ll have to give Hans rides more often.