My mind is a dangerous place. Make sure you wear a cup.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Won't you be my neighbor?

We live on a cul-de-sac (isn't that a nicer name than "dead end"?)

I like to think we are good neighbors. We don't have wild parties, we keep the house and yard looking nice, and when the neighborhood kids are selling something we always buy.

I don't urinate out in the yard. For that matter, neither does Mrs. F. I don't walk around naked in front of open windows. I don't throw rocks at neighborhood cats (even though there is one that keeps leaving cat hair on the wife's convertible top). I don't deal drugs out of the house (I have a storage locker for that). And I don't sit up on the roof with an automatic rifle taking orders from my dog.

See? Good neighbors.

But it's a passive good neighbor policy. I sometimes wonder if we should try to get to know our neighbors better. Is it enough that I don't walk out to get the paper in the morning wearing a leopard print thong?

There are eight houses in the cul-de-sac, counting the ones at either side of the entrance.

The house to the left of us is...I can't remember his name. We refer to him by the name of the guy who used to live there when we first moved into the neighborhood. That guy's name was Howard. So we call the next door neighbor Used-To-Be-Howard. And his wife is Used-To-Be-Howard's Wife.

The next house is a family of five. The little girls are the ones we buy Girl Scout cookies from. And the girls always bring over a plate of homemade treats every Christmas. I don't know their name either. But the father drives a pickup that has a front license plate that says "BEEF" so we just call him the "Beef Guy".

The next house is for sale, and I think the only people who have ever lived there have been renters, so we have never even thought enough about them to give them a bullshit name.

The next house, which is directly across from us, is Bill and Erica. Thank God I know somebody's name. They have lived here longer than we have. Bill's a cop and I think Erica stays home with their two little children.

The next house, which is at the entrance to the cu-de-sac (I love saying that) is another Used-To. His name is Used-To-Be-Dan. They've got one son, and the father always walks the dog while wearing his pajamas, which I find vaguely unsettling, for some reason.

Across the street from them are people who have lived here as long as we have, but I have no idea who they are. They've got a boat which they park out in the street a lot (in violation of the subdivision rules, by the way) and a son who rarely wears shoes. He almost always is barefoot, except when it gets chilly, then I've seen him out playing in socks. We call him Barefoot Boy.

The next house contains our other next door neighbors and we hate them. Hate hate hate. They don't own the house, some relative does. They're graduate students, I think. The yard is unkempt, there is always some trash in their yard (which freqently blows over into ours, so I have to wad it up and throw it back), they never take their garbage can in...

Did I mention that we hate them?

One morning I went out to put another bag in our garbage can on collection day, only to find that that they had put a big bag of their garbage in our can. Oooh, I was mad! I took it out and threw it into their driveway. It was all I could do not to pound on the door and give them a piece of my mind, but it was about 5:30 in the morning, so I thought better of it.

I think we all hate them, but I rarely talk to anyone, so I don't know for sure.

The last time we had any discussion with any neighbors at all was last spring when we had the yard landscaped. Erica and Used-To-Be-Howard and Mrs. Beef Guy all came over to look and we talked for a few minutes. And we sometimes see Used-To-Be-Howard and Used-To-Be-Howard's wife at the grocery store or the movies, but that's about it.

It's not just us. No one in the cul-de-sac is really tight with anyone else.

Maybe that's just the way things are today.


Blogger Belle said...

I've taken your idea and I'm gonna' run with it on my blog. Good one and stay tuned!

5:35 AM  
Blogger threecollie said...

Ain't neighbors grand! Several of ours trundle right past our posted signs, heavily armed and often driving assorted offroad vehicles, in search of the mighty whitetail. We love them too....

6:29 AM  
Blogger CP said...

Wowee...your very own "Desperate Housewives" but we can call it "Strange Neighbors".

I thought the story was sad. Then I realized that, like me, you live in Florida. Suddenly, it all made sense. No one here knows one another Mr. Fab. We're all in the witness protection program down here.


7:08 AM  
Blogger The Wrath of Dawn said...

My neighbourhood is like that and I don't live in Florida. Like tj, I think I'll do my own post on this.

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Matt said...

we live in an apartment complex, and the most we do is to say "howdy" to our neighbors. i don't feel that strange about it.

some newer residents invited the whole building to a little thing they were having on the patio to celebrate their child's baptism. we didn't go, which i felt sorta bad about, but we had a previous engagement.

mr. fab, maybe we need to pull a strangers on a train here...the people below us play music and tv at ungodly loud volumes every night. i can bump off your grad students, you bump off the deaf folks beneath us! criss-cross!

12:13 PM  
Blogger Dixie said...

I've lived in this apartment for ten weeks so I don't know all my neighbors but I can at least say on which floor they belong.

Your hate neighbors will never, ever, ever top the hate neighbors I had at our old place - the people who forced us into moving. I'll see your trashbag in your can and raise you a guy who took a crap once a week at 4am and screamed during it so loud he could be heard seven floors up and out on the street.

6:16 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

OMG, that's so funny. We live in a cul de sac as well, and we're always referred to as "Tracy's house". (Clearly, a girl named Tracy lived here first). My neighbors are pretty nice, but you know - I'm just not into really hanging out that much. Everyone is really very, very nice - but sometimes, it's best to keep it at a wave and a friendly hello. Who the heck needs a Peyton Place??? Not me!!!

7:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This phenomenom has made me kinda sad for a long time now. Neighbours don't even know their neighbours. Must be part of the whole "Free Country" and "Privacy" thing that we Americans come to value so much. Until of course we find out that people next door are serial killers or active Satanists.

When I moved to my new place I went to the neighbours, introduced myself, handed out sealed (store-bought) cookies and my personal calling card.

All I got were strange looks from most of the neighbours (especially the asian people). Only ONE person was nice... little old lady in unit 3... engaged me for about 5 minutes in friendly conversation and even introduced me to her daughter (she was hot, but married). Up till today I still drop by once or twice a month to check up on Old Mrs. Franklin in unit 3, see if she needs anything from the store or something.

See, cuz that's what neighbours do :)

2:19 AM  
Blogger Mr. Fabulous said...

TJ-yeah, you've got some freaky ones, for sure!

Three Collie--At least my neighbors aren't heavily armed. Well, except for the cop. I hear he's a gun freak.

CP--Very true. Everyone here is from somewhere else

Dawn--you and TJ's neighbors sure are colorful!

Matt--I'm up for that. I've always wanted to kill a couple of perfect strangers for no reason. I'm in!

Dixie--EEK! That's pretty high on the freak meter. I wonder why it was only once a week. Is that the only time he went #2?

Rebecca--Yeah, that's prety much how I feel. We wave and say hello, but I don't have much in common with them. It's like family--you can't choose who your neighbors are. I'll settle for polite "getting along"

Chip--The first couple years here I actually put on a Santa hat and delivered homemade cookies to all the neighbors. I don't really know why I stopped doing it. Maybe this Christmas I will try it again...

5:27 AM  

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