A lifetime ago, I started my blogging career on Myspace. I ranted about a myriad of topics but one of my favorites was my neighbors. We lived then in a small collection of townhomes and had some of the strangest people in our vicinity. I gave them all sorts of wonderful nicknames based on my observations of their behavior. We had the Vampire, the Echolocator, the Disco Priest, the Children, the Tool and his wife, the Toolbox, AL and her fecal-philiac pugs. The list could continue. It was a pretty rich environment for people watching. It was like being in the airport full time. You just never knew what you would see or experience. Even though I committed Myspace suicide, I saved all of these blogs on my computer somewhere. It’s good stuff.
I figured (and hoped) when we moved to a nicer neighborhood in suburbia that we would have decent neighbors. I should preface all of this by saying that we are admittedly antisocial. We want to know our neighbors enough to be able to say hello and report any suspicious activity, but I don’t want someone leaning over the back fence every time I take my kid to the “water park.” I have to say I’ve been somewhat disappointed in the way this neighborhood has panned out, particularly now that I have a little girl in my care.
Most of them fall into the clique run by “Todd and Margot.” This is a National Lampoon Christmas Vacation reference. These are the snootiest bastards you can imagine out of the McMansion district. They once tore down a perfectly good crape myrtle tree only to replace it with another crape myrtle tree. I think this was done in the name of symmetry, to match the crape on the other side of the driveway. They rarely can be bothered to wave to us – the rabble. We think they keep their daughter chained in a closet, as you never see that little girl, whereas their son, Todd Jr., runs rampant through the neighborhood, riding his 4-wheeler through everyone’s yards (who the hell buys a 6 year old their own 4-wheeler?) and throwing rocks at new moms and infants; he tried to hit me the first time I took Stella out in her stroller in the neighborhood. I worry that one day I’ll have to watch Todd Jr. for signs of date rapist, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. The clique gather almost daily in Todd and Margot’s driveway. I call it the Circle Jerk. It’s clear who is “in” and who isn’t. We’re not in. I’m cool with that.
On one side of our house is an almost-good neighbor. I call her the Desperate Housewife, as one busy-body old lady (the Town Crier) down the street let fly that she spends her days hoping her boyfriend will propose. She’s an almost-good neighbor because she’s never there. The bad part is that her house is falling down and her Jurassic Park-inspired back yard is constantly attempting to cover our fence and encroach our space. Hovel + weeds/brambles = rodent vector. Not a fan at all.
It’s the neighbors on the other side that are my biggest immediate concern. We call them Zsa Zsa and the Chief. Zsa Zsa was so named because during my first encounter with her 3 days after moving in, she wanted to know what Will charged. When I looked at her questioningly, she explained that she knew he was a “yard man,” and that she was on a fixed income and needed some good help. She lives with her son, the Chief (so named because of his rather odd hairdo consisting of long, stringy hair that he keeps braided in a leather thong down his back). The Town Crier has informed me that “he’s special but harmless,” doesn’t have a job (I’m assuming he draws social security or disability), and is an unofficial neighborhood watchman. That’s useful since he’s out riding aimlessly on his 10 speed at 1:00 AM.
I’ve spoken to the Chief several times, and he seems ok but very awkward. However, in addition to his late-night exercise habits, the dude has a really strange ritual that we call Music Appreciation. He has an odd assortment of friends which come over, park in his driveway, and then he goes out and sits in their car for sometimes hours at a time. These people appear less than savory. One, the Tweaker, has got to be at least the Maître-d of a meth lab. They’re all “grown ups,” yet none keep any kind of schedule which would allow for a regular job or responsibility.
I really am “live and let live,” as a rule (with the normal exceptions involving consenting adults, no one or property being hurt/damaged, etc…) but I cannot logically come up with one completely legal and non-sketchy reason for this behavior. Our fear is that when Zsa Zsa dies, we’ll have a good old-fashioned crack house next door (I would say opium den, but these people aren’t that classy/sexy). Of course law enforcement wouldn’t be able to do anything until there’s some direct violation. There is no law against a bunch of weirdoes sitting in vehicles for hours at a time. Will is advocating the purchase of a webcam to see if we can’t catch them doing something unlawful. I just don’t want my kid getting hit by shrapnel if their lab blows up.