Paula-Loves-Marla's Blog

Observations about Art, Movies, Books, etc.

Unfair Assumptions About People I Don’t Know

We’ve lived in our neighborhood for a little over 13 years now and since we have kids and are not complete recluses, we do know some, but not all of our neighbors.

We met a number of our close neighbors who introduced themselves after we moved in and have very pleasant people bordering us. We are very lucky in that. In our last little subdivision there was a surly policeman whose boys ran wild. One of their close neighbors finally snapped one night during a spirited game of flashlight tag and felt the need to shoot his handgun up into the night sky in order to keep the boys away from his house.

The first people who made an impression on us after we moved in were known throughout the neighborhood as the “Butt-cracks” because the patriarch was habitually out in his driveway hunkered over an auto repair or other project which required him to flash the world his vertical smile. We had nothing against them, but it was sort of like living down the street from the Beverly Hillbillies. They had many a derelict vehicle on their driveway and for a time had a pick-up truck bed that they used as a trailer or an impromptu ride for their kids’ birthday parties.

We had the “Gay Divorcee” (as my mother-in-law called her) living next door to us for a while, but it wasn’t long before she remarried. I admired her vivaciousness and candid way of speaking. My girls adored her husband and he liked them too since, according to him, they were they only kids he’d ever met who weren’t scared of him. The former divorcee had noticed one of our other neighbors with the unfortunate habit of wearing black socks with everything who habitually walked after 10 p.m. each and every night. She determined that he was a spy who was dropping off government secrets to his contact who would meet him out on the road. Nocturnal with no sense of fashion is probably more accurate.

Their house has grossly overgrown shrubberies and trees and the blinds are always pulled closed. Their children rarely leave the house except to go to and from their cars and I picture them as antisocial mole kids.

It’s sort of interesting trying to figure out the neighbors we don’t know simply based on the observations I make during my early morning dog walks. We’ve had new additions to our street since we’ve lived here which has afforded me the opportunity to ponder what sorts of people they are just based on outside observation. You know, totally baseless and probably incorrect assumptions about people I know nothing about.

It’s a fun game for the whole family.

Our current favorites are:

The Mysterious Multifamily. The house sold at the height of the housing boom and about fifty people with a dozen vehicles moved in shortly afterwards. The neighbors were not pleased with the cars parked on the lawn of the once quaint brick rancher, but like homeowners associations a whole lot less so the transgressions went unmentioned. It was even more interesting when they suddenly acquired three dogs; a Rottweiler, a pit mix and a Chihuahua. The two larger dogs disappeared at some point, but the yappy little dog remained. The icing on the cake was the rooster….in suburbia. He crowed all summer long before someone must have finally called the county about a farm animal in a residential area. I didn’t have a problem with it and actually thought it was kind of funny.

About the time the rooster arrived, there started to be fewer family members at the house. It was strange that there were no longer cars on the lawn. When fall rolled around, all the cars were gone and the house seemed to be vacant except for a lone chuck wagon trailer sitting near the garage. Even that is gone now and I wonder about the fate of all the people who lived there. It doesn’t look like a foreclosure, but it sure is weird that the once overloaded house now sits empty.

Another reclusive family moved here a few years ago. I took little notice of them other than overhearing one of their adjoining neighbors talking about how uncommunicative they were. What I’ve noticed is that they make a hell of a lot of trash. It’s a converted rancher with a small second story addition but some Thursday s they have five cans of garbage lined up like soldiers out on the curb. I wonder if they run some sort of food service out of their house and have not discovered the joys of recycling. Either that or perhaps there is some sort of co-dependent element to their family routine. I’m sure they’re very nice people, but their trash habits make me curious about their lifestyle.

I’m sure that people here wonder about us as well. There are many commuters who leave their houses very early in the morning who have seen me walking our dog in the early morning light wearing only my pajamas. Years ago I never would have dared to roll out of bed and walk out of my house without make up, let alone without a bra, but somewhere along the line I just stopped caring about it.  I guess that makes me a weird neighbor too!

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