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Sugar Bowl Mix: The Tryst House

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Tryst House

When we first moved into our house some five years ago we met most of our neighbors on our family-friendly street quickly. There was one house on our street, however, where no one ever seemed to be home.

One day I saw a man working there and went up to him, introduced myself and asked who lived in the house. He told me he was a handyman who did odd jobs in the house occasionally. He explained this was a second home for the owner who used it as a guest house for out of town visitors.

"A guest house?" I asked. That seemed a little strange to have a full on whole second house to use only for out of town guests. How many out of town guests did this owner have? Clearly not that many since we had yet to see any.
"And other things," he said.
"Like what?"
"He uses it for his hobbies."
"Hobbies?"  Now this conversation was getting downright weird. Who uses an entire house for their hobbies? At this point the handyman wanted out of the conversation but I wasn't about to let him go so easily.
"What kind of hobbies?"
"Uh, he collects things."  And with that the handyman made a quick exit.

Tim shrugged his shoulders when I told him about the exchange. Life in Los Angeles is sometimes strange.

The following Monday I noticed a red Lexus sports car parked near the house with a woman sitting in it applying make-up. She sat in the car for a full half-hour applying make-up before getting out and walking to the house where a fire was burning.

That Thursday another Lexus, this time a silver SUV, parked near the house. This woman didn't spend any time applying make-up. She got our immediately, walked to the house and disappeared inside where there was once again a fire going.

I started to get an idea of what the owner's "hobby" might be. As Tim and I got to know some of our neighbors better, the truth came out:  The house was known as "The Tryst House." The owner had two "hobbies." One met him every Monday evening and the other met him every Thursday. No one had ever met the owner himself. In fact, no one had ever even seen the owner.

This went on for several years, making for a funny story in the appropriate circumstances. One summer day smoke surged out of The Tryst House's chimney while we were hosting Katherine's third birthday party. The temperature was pushing 110 degrees and almost everyone commented on how bizarre it was that someone on our street had lit a fire in the middle of a heat wave. My three-year-old's birthday party didn't seem like appropriate circumstances to share The Tryst House story.

The following winter Los Angeles experienced record lows and several nights in a row of below freezing temperatures. Yes, it does get cold in Los Angeles sometimes. During this cold spell we noticed water pouring out of Tryst House's yard. We ventured into its back yard and discovered a burst pipe, a casualty of the freezing temperatures. With the help of another neighbor and amidst various tryst-type jokes we turned the water off and stopped the water flow.

A few days later I had the amazing good fortune to see The Tryst House owner himself. He was in his late sixties, portly, heavily bearded. Not what I imagined he would look like. At all.  I hurried over to the Tryst House where he was unloading wood from the back of his car and transporting it into the house, no doubt preparing for a rendez-vous with one of his "hobbies." I introduced myself and explained that we had turned off the water and could I please have some contact information for him so that we had a way of getting in touch with him should something similar occur again.

He was very taken aback. He didn't seem to know what to do. He stood there, holding the large bundle of wood in his arms and stared at me. He looked caught.
I smiled genially and suggested I go back to my house and get a paper and pen for him to write with.
"No, no" he said. "I've got pen and paper inside."

He went into the house to retrieve the pen and paper. Meanwhile, the Lexus SUV arrived and parked across the street. When the owner returned and saw the Lexus, his eyebrows arched. I continued smiling genially. A well-dressed woman in her fifties crossed the street from the Lexus and entered the Tryst House. The owner nodded to her, muttering a quick "hello."

He scribbled his name. First and Last. He hesitated with the phone number but finally wrote down his office number and scrawled "office" next to the number. Interesting. Apparently he did not want anyone at home to know about the goings-ons in the Tryst House. Shortly thereafter the smoke billowed out of the chimney.

I have since discovered that he lives in the neighborhood, a few blocks away. And then, a few days ago I met his wife, or rather, a woman I assume is his wife. She was driving the same car the owner drives. At least it was the same make and color. A pest control truck was parked in front of the Tryst House when I arrived home from school with the girls and I used this as an opportunity to do some further investigation.

A round shaped woman in her sixties said hello when I walked up to the front door.
"Rats," she said. "Just discovered them a few days ago."
"Rats," I said.
"Uh, huh, we're setting traps," she said.
"Great," I said.
"Have you had rats?"
"Yes," I answered. "We've had them, too."

Rats. Rats, indeed. It occurred to me as the girls and I walked back to our house that the poor woman was perhaps after the wrong rat.

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At October 7, 2010 at 1:27 PM , Blogger Liz said...

that story is INSANE!!! it's like a real life soap opera. but what about the smoke in the chimney? one of his women likes to relax by the fire after a sexcapade?

At October 7, 2010 at 5:51 PM , Blogger TheBabyMammaChronicles said...

Wow, sounds like a story for the "Desperate Houswives" street or something. The poor wife.


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