October 7, 2009

September and the Neighbor

Okay. So the house next to ours was this abandoned grey-blue falling apart sort of house owned by a woman with cancer who had gone to live with a troupe of gypsies. Her son was a gypsy and that’s why she was living with them. So the house was basically abandoned which was actually really nice. It was like this for a year, the whole first year that we lived in our house.

And then one day a dumpster appeared in front and they began raking everything out of the house and there ended up being these boxes filled with books set out on the side of the road. Heidi and I went through them and I pulled out a Goosebumps young adult novel and an illustrated book about animals in Africa. But they smelled really bad, all those books, and one could only assume that the whole house smelled like that. And then a for sale sign went up.

And actually, one day I was gardening and the neighbors across the street came over and complimented my flowers and we were talking about the house and the woman said she had been inside and the floors were all rotting and there had been a horrible rodent problem and the woman who lived there had been a hoarder. It took two dumpsters to empty out all the stuff she said.

And then the for sale sign went down and this Miata started parking in front of the house all the time and then this contractor that always wore white and liked to listen to the radio, loudly, would come and work on the house at odd hours with power equipment and hammers and all that. Sometimes all night (that’s complaint number one). And of course there aren’t curtains (that’s complaint number two) and our kitchen window is right in front of the sink so when I’m washing dishes I am just looking right into this house because it has a window directly across from our window and it’s a pretty open floor plan so I can see straight through the house and it appears to be a double living room sort of house. And the new neighbor has never said hi to me or to any of us. He just moved in and stands around and talks to this contractor in white who has a booming voice, and they ignore us if we’re outside. So he’s not friendly (that’s complaint number three). And this neighbor had some guys do some weak landscaping and so now there are some little strips of turf out there and some bark dust and some freshly planted shrubs evenly spaced in the bark dust. And his guys pressure washed the sidewalk and pressure washed all the dirt right down the sidewalk to our house, they just stopped at the property line (and that’s actually complaint number four, it’s a little petty but it’s still a complaint).

And because the neighbor has no curtains we know all sorts of things about him. I’ve never seen him eat but he watches a lot of television. He drives that Miata and is from Colorado (license plates) and also has a crappy motorcycle. He has arranged his living room, the far one, so that the couch that faces the television also faces our window. So sometimes when I’m washing the dishes I’m watching him watch tv. And he plays guitar on the other couch, the one that is front of the window, so sometimes I’m watching the back of his head play guitar when I’m washing dishes. He doesn’t appear to have a job because he seems to be at home pretty much all the time. Playing guitar or watching tv or mournfully smoking cigarettes on the front porch. And then the kicker. Charissa was home alone and suddenly heard something that resembled disco music. Booming voice disco music. She goes to the window to see the contractor (probably in white, but I don’t know because I wasn’t there) standing up, snapping his fingers, kind of wiggling around, singing Earth, Wind & Fire’s September. In its entirety. And the neighbor was sitting on the couch, shyly smiling, with his hands folded over his stomach.

Which actually has spawned a game that we play sometimes. One person sits on the couch and doesn’t smile and folds their hands over their stomach. The other person dances and sings or lip-syncs or whatever with the purpose of making the person on the couch laugh. And you win once the person on the couch laughs. And it’s a pretty awesome game. So that’s something good about the neighbor.

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