Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Next Door Bores


Okay. Explain this to me.  I have lived in this house for almost seven years. There are 18 houses on my street.  I know the names of the people in one of them.  That is only because in my haste to get to the local Takee Outee before they ran out of hot and sour soup, I backed out of my driveway and directly into my neighbor's brand new BMW.  Therefore the introduction went something like this, "Oh, hi.  I'm your neighbor?  You know right across the street? Yes the one with the big dog who chased your dog Coconuts into his own garage and held him captive there for several hours until I noticed he was missing.  Oh, well, I  THINK, I may have just hit your car."  A close inspection by the neighbor, his wife and four children confirmed my suspicion.  The missing passenger door was a dead give away. But, I got their names.

When I am outside, bringing in the trash cans that were emptied two days ago, or collecting the pile of newspapers I have no time to read, I linger, hoping a fellow human being will appear.  I long to make neighbor conversation, "Wow, can you believe this rain?" or "That is such an awesome fountain you put right in the middle of your front yard for some reason."  (What is it about living in Florida that makes people feel they need either a stone dolphin or manatee spitting water somewhere on their property? )

So I figure, whatever.  It's just not that kind of neighborhood.  People don't talk to each other over the fence, or borrow cups of sugar.  I mean, it's a gated community after all.  We demand our privacy around here.  You stay on your lawn and I will stay on mine.  Mind your own business nosey. That's the way it is.

Until yesterday.  Sometime last week, a new family moved in.  As the woman of the house was dragging a box out to the curb, our eyes met.  I gave a quick wave and turned away.  Just letting her know, this is how it's done around here.  We are GATED.  You got it?  Now look away.

Imagine my surprise when not three days later, I see her taking in MY neighbor's mail and newspaper.  Hold the phone, I have lived right next door to these people for 7 years and never once have they asked me to bring in their mail.  WTF?  Even though we don't know each other's names, we still have been through so much together.

I know they must remember the time when my ex, who was a retired Army Ranger, and a darned good one, thought he heard something at the other end of the house about 3 am.  Imagine his surprise to find my daughter H entertaining a house full of what appeared to be Marilyn Manson impersonators, whom she had snuck in through the pool bath door.  What ensued can only be described as epic, as my ex chased them down through the cul de sac in his boxer shorts, screaming "Rangers Take No Prisoners!" It looked like the night of the living dead, as all the Marilyns threw themselves over the gate and onto the main road disappearing into the night.

How can they forget the night, when, just as I had fallen asleep, there was a knock on the door.  Standing there were two police officers.  First thought?  This cannot be good.  Second thought?  I hope my boobs are not hanging out from under my tshirt.  They were simply inquring if my son had made it home safely, and would I mind checking.  How nice I thought, now this is why I live in a gated community, everyone keeping an eye out for each other.  I peeked in and saw my 18 year old darling boy, fast asleep, safe and sound.  I reported back to the officers, "Yes he's here, sound asleep!  Thanks for checking. Goodnight!"  They then asked if I would mind stepping outside to inspect his vehicle.  Whenever a cop uses the word VEHICLE you know you are fucked.

"We think your son may have been involved in an accident involving property damage."  I started to argue that there is no way that sleeping boy in there could have done anything like that, when I noticed black tire tracks coming from the gate leading into my driveway, where my sons' car sat with 2 flat front tires and a piece of concrete stuck to his bumper.  Case closed.

I thought I had finally won their hearts, the day I held the FREE MEN'S STUFF give away day on the front lawn.  I simply took all of my ex's remaining clothes, shoes, fly fishing gear,  oh-and Rolex watches,  put them out on the lawn, and invited the neighbors to come and browse.  A few hours later the police showed up with a cease and desist order, causing neighbors to scatter and me to spend the next six hours carrying my wares back into the house.

All experiences I thought, were bringing us together, and cementing our neighborly ties.  I thought we would one day be sitting around at the block party reminiscing,  "Ha ha, remember how long it took you to clean off those tire tracks your son left on our street?" "Hey,  remember that time your generator kicked on and knocked out all of our power for a week? Ha Ha."  But no, if there are any block parties happening, they are holding them secretly on another street. It almost makes me want to ask for all my free Rolexes back.


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