While I’m primarily home during the humid-hellish months of summer, I do my best to escape on what little money I have. I’ll do anything — I’ll drive to a cafe and write, go to the library and find books on publishing, sit in the park for ten minutes before the melanoma and heat stroke set in, meander around a department store and pretend that security isn’t really following me…that sort of thing. I’m not a homebody whatsoever, and it’s not that I don’t like spending time in my leaky, cracked house (it’s my grandfather’s creation — I feel obliged to like it). I really just don’t like living in a virtual Stepford. The area itself, like Stepford, is lovely on the surface. There are beautiful lakes to enjoy, lush plant life everywhere, and a variety of crazy-assed birds to gawk at. I mean I never thought I’d EVER be an honest-to-god bird-watcher. Then I moved here, and I swear I could just sit and watch the gangs (not flocks…GANGS) of egrets all day long and never NOT be entertained by their strutty antics. A true sign that I am officially Growing Old.
My neighbors to the left of my house, a married couple, Bob and Carol, are also okay, reasonably likable, even though they let their little terrier creature piss in my front yard…while I’m standing out there…as if I’m not there, really. Still, they were quite nice to me when all went to pot—all the deaths—so as far as I’m concerned, I suppose Bob and Carol’s doggie can do what he likes as long as there’s no actual “do” involved, so to speak.
As for the rest of the people in my neighborhood, they can go to hell:
1. My immediate neighbors to the right of my house refuse to let their dogs in the house. I live in an area famous for its storm season. Three hurricanes ravaged my town back in 2004, one right after the other, and even though these assbags have lived here for a couple of months, they KNOW better by now. We’ve had some heavy storms over the past few weeks, and their poor mutts are just howling-miserable.
2. Those are the very same neighbors who have cut down ALL of the trees — HEALTHY trees — in their yard so that there is no privacy anymore. There are some things that really should NOT be seen in a neighbor’s yard by the neighbor’s pool.
(look at all the pretty, newly dead trees so aptly placed on the lawn across the street)
3. They not only destroy the natural habitat around their home, they listen to shitty music. I get to listen to Miley Cyrus, the majority of the Frozen soundtrack, Iggy Azalea, and Pharrell on ear-bleeding repeat mode all day while I watch another tree get taken apart.
4. Almost all of the people in my neighborhood think they’re doing everyone else a favor by owning and driving around in golf carts. What is the point of owning a golf cart when you’re not near a golf course? (It’s like the rich idiots who live out West, in the desert, and own boats.) Not only do they own them and drive them around the neighborhood, wine glasses sloshing “pinot greej” in hand, they let their kids drive them. By “drive” though, I don’t mean really “drive.” More like treat the golf cart like an elderly drunkard in a bumper car at the local fair. Last night during my evening walk, I was nearly hit by an elderly drunk in a bumper—Wait, no, scratch that—I was nearly hit by a giggly-gaggle of bouncy preteen girls swerving all over the road in Daddy’s golf cart. I know…I know…What was I doing walking out in the road? It’s a ROAD after all. Well, that brings me to the next issue…
(YAY! LOOKIT! I can drive pretty now!)
5. There are no sidewalks anywhere (never mind bike paths), so where CAN one POSSIBLY walk but On The Road? I get it, somewhat. Everyone has his or her own private property complete with manicured front lawns and tropical flowers, and no one wants his or her pretty property marred by such unsightly crushed undergrowth. However, wouldn’t you neighborhood pridemongers love to have an actual AUDIENCE fawn over your lawn, that precious greenery oh so carefully maintained by exploited Mexican workers? That is, an audience that won’t worry about being run over by your obnoxious teenaged kids in your golf carts?
6. Everyone here is a religious, conservative uber-patriot and likes to “encourage” everyone else to be so. Let’s get one thing straight: I am all for the value of freedom, the value of individuality and independence. I am an agnostic liberal-with-shades-of-grey who respects the concept of religious, political, and social diversity. When someone of a differing vantage/belief attempts to have me change my mind about my own, that’s certainly fine; however, if that person cannot convince me to change my mind, that person needs to kindly move along. Since I’ve moved into my grandparents’ house, I have been besieged by various neighborhood do-gooders who’ve banged on my door at something-o’clock-in-the-morning in order to A) convince me to convert to whatever religion du jour they’re selling, B) convince me to support a (conservative, “family values”) politician this mid-term election cycle, C) convince me to attend a church event that encourages the masses to “bring God back into our homes and into America” (quoted from the latest pamphlet that had been stuck in my door yesterday morning), or D) convince me of any combination of A, B, and/or C.
Not only do these people play door-to-door, they have all sorts of delightful decor littered all over their pretty lawns during election terms. “God” is heavily emphasized as well. Makes me wonder if God truly appreciates being drafted into politics.
7. Their kids (or, perhaps, grandkids) are spoiled, little assholes. I’ve already mentioned the golf cart situation around here. There are two houses just down the road from mine where the residents hold these obscenely extravagant holiday and birthday parties for their children. They don’t just break out the bouncy castles for the kids…They make sure the kids get bouncy castles, bouncy moats, bouncy stables, bouncy servants’ quarters, bouncy churches, bouncy spas, bouncy boutiques, bouncy banks, whole bouncy cities with bouncy skyscrapers…the lot. During last year’s Halloween, a huge party of their kids went trick-or-treating in a mini-train made up of connected — uh-huh — golf carts. Early on that evening, a couple of the kids sneered at my candy selection (umm…See’s lollipops? really?) and loudly complained to me when I gave each of them only one lollipop. Their plasticine mothers, lagging behind with their plastic cups of chilled white in hand, ignored their kids’ rude behavior, probably as ever. After they’d left, I broke out the bag of really shitty Halloween candy (there’s always at least ONE bag of crappy candy from the year before somewhere in the house). By the end of the night, I’d given out all of the stale watermelon and banana Laffy Taffy and Tootsie Rolls I had (and several pieces each) to all the darling princes and princesses who’d graced me with their sticky, whiny, royal selves. The kids who’d come from out of the area, the ones whose parents wanted them in safer neighborhoods on Halloween night, were cheerful, funny, and charming, so I saved the See’s lollipops especially for them. Those kids did the unthinkable in my area of town…They thanked me. Of course, that earned them extra lollipops.
To be fair, my neighborhood has its good Samaritans, ones I’d certainly call “Christian.” They check in on their elderly neighbors. They bring comforting foods when tragedy strikes. I just wish that those particular neighbors weren’t in the minority around here.