I live in an artsy college town. I am pretty sure that the majority of people living in my town are either affiliated with the college or have a random crafty skill. The ability to play the harp or maybe glassblowing come to mind. Personally, I am a former college employee turned stay-at-home-mom. I also play the piano and operate a blog, so I fit right in.
My neighborhood is filled with a delightful range of people. There are professionals, hippies, and probably even professional hippies all on one eclectic block. Here’s what I know about my neighbors…
The band lives across the street. The guitar player is the only consistent inhabitant of the home, but at varying times, other band members have lived in the abode. The band is famous. Locally famous that is. They play gigs every weekend, weeknights occasionally, and the college students love them. The band even has groupies! Different girls are at the house all of the time and it is weird. The band has wild house parties. Every party includes loud music, lots of alcohol, and multiple girl’s hula-hooping in the backyard. (Hula-hooping is not slang; I literally mean that they are spinning hula-hoops around their waists.) To my husband’s dismay, the band has converted an old school bus into a biodiesel tour bus that is regularly parked in front of our house. The band is nocturnal. The guitar player usually rolls out of the house around 3 pm, hungover and wearing sunglasses to hit whiffle balls with a children’s baseball bat across his backyard. I don’t get it either.
I am intimidated by the band.
I have talked to the guitar player exactly once. He actually did the talking, I just stared. His unexpected presence held me in a frozen state of panic. Our conversation occurred when he snuck up on me at the mailboxes. He was wearing a trench coat, skinny jeans and a top hat with a 3-foot-tall peacock feather sticking out of it. No big deal. He winked, then said with a nod, “Hey darling…” I stared blankly, partially in shock because only waitresses had ever called me darling, and then, “winter is coming, the air is getting crisp, don’t forget to dig up the Cannas in your garden because they won’t survive the winter.” Then as he walked away he added as an afterthought, “Store your bulbs in the basement. Peace.” Our exchange left me with the desire to use my pepper spray, but also a yearning to chase him and ask for a demo tape.
Bruce is my next door neighbor. Bruce carries a lot of extra weight on his frame which must raise his body temperature. This is an assumption based on the fact that even in winter he is too warm to wear a shirt. Bruce has a wife who he refers to as ‘The Wife’. I have been living in my house for 7 years and I still don’t know The Wife’s real name. Bruce and The Wife have a small yard, but that doesn’t stop Bruce from mowing his grass on a riding tractor while wearing nothing but cut-off jean shorts. Bruce talks a lot, and in the years that I have known him he has shared many random tidbits about his life. I have learned that him and The Wife spend a month each summer living in a campground with an above ground pool. I know that he has had two knee replacements and that he and The Wife are both diabetic. Bruce and The Wife do not recycle. They have several adult children whom I have never met, but Bruce often drops their names in conversations like they are my best friends. Things like, “Jimmy’s youngest is 4 years old now, you wouldn’t even recognize him if you saw him.” Which is a legit statement, because I have never seen Jimmy or any of his kids in my life. I always assumed that Bruce and The Wife were gun-toting blue collar employees, or maybe owners of the local Little Caesar’s establishment.
Last week, I learned that Bruce and The Wife are both pharmacists. This blew my mind.
The New/Nude Neighbors
This couple moved in 1.5 years ago, and it has been 1.5 years since they have purchased a single curtain or blind for their home. As far as I can tell, they do all of their in-house activities naked. They also leave all of their lights on at night. Every time I walk by their house I laugh like a third grade boy. I have seen them sitting on the couch with TV dinners; naked. Hanging artwork on their walls; naked. Playing the piano; naked. The only other fact that I know about the new/nude neighbors is that they order fried catfish and ribs for takeout once per week from the weird diner down the street. They put on clothes and walk to pick up their food. I usually pass them while I run and don’t immediately recognize them because they are clothed.
Sister Mary Theresa*
Sister Mary Theresa is a nun who lives across the street. I know two things about her. 1) Regardless of the temperature, if the sun is shining, she will recline in the lounge chair in her backyard and read the Bible. I have witnessed this happening even in 25-degree weather. 2) She is a nun. I only know this because by accident, I once received her mail.
I have tried to introduce myself to Sister Mary Theresa several times to no avail. Whenever she sees me walking in her direction, she abruptly enters her house. I have a couple of theories as to why she is dodging me, but my top theory is that she has mistaken me for a wayward groupie straying too far from the band's house. Fair enough.
I don’t know much about my other neighbors, which is probably for the best. Maybe one day The Wife will organize a block party and I will have the opportunity to meet more people. Let’s be honest though, if my neighborhood has a block party I probably wouldn’t be able to make it. I think I have plans that day.
Do you have a good relationship with your neighbors? Do you know your neighbor’s names? What’s the weirdest thing that you have witnessed in your neighborhood?
*Not his/her real name. Names have been changed to protect MY privacy. ;)