When I think back to my fondest memories of my grandmother, one prominent image always comes to mind. Her hands tucked softly behind her back, pacing the large window in the living room, checking on the neighborhood on-goings. She knew everything that was going on with her neighbors at all times. Gossip, drama, stories – call it what you will – my grandmother was always “in the know”.
I’m sure the police scanner constantly buzzing in the background assisted with this knowledge.
As I get older, I’ve realized this trait is apparently hereditary. I catch myself looking out my large front windows with my own hands held gently behind my back, leaning one way or another to get the ideal view.
A car coming down the street? I have to check.
Someone talking outside? Let’s have a look.
Neighbors yelling and fighting? Make sure I catch an ear-full.
The worst part of this hereditary gene is that I don’t even like my neighbors. Or neighbors in general. You’ll never catch this lady baking a fresh pie or treat for incoming neighbors. Welcoming committee? Try background search via internet.
Not that I can be blamed. (Get ready for some Grade-A self reasoning.)
When I was very young, my neighbors had domestic disputes regularly where firearms and cops were bound to be involved. After my parents purchased their first house, we had an eccentric next door neighbor who began drinking when the sun rose and slurred crazy thoughts about being similar to Jesus. And my first experience living by myself involved SWAT-affiliated neighbors. Which brings us to today, where my neighbors (aka: half the neighborhood) run rampantly all over the yard, under my windows, and are constantly outside yelling as if they are being featured on the television show ‘Cops’.
Despite this constant state of annoyance and frustration with my neighborhood, I still have that urge. The need to know what’s going on with everyone, even though it really doesn’t affect me in any way, shape, or form. My guy laughs at this intrigue, but secretly enjoys when I fill him in on the knowledge I’ve gained. Or made up.
We have several hoarders in the neighborhood. Their windows constantly closed, even during the Summer when the sun knocks politely on the panes asking to be let in. Alcoholics are numerous too. This is witnessed when driving home on a Friday night and neighbors are already standing out on their front lawn, beer in hand. A heroin-addiction support group has also been founded on one corner, where they yell about the drug, with a fire and music blasting, every single night of the year when it’s warm.
I’ve handed out a few OCD diagnoses as well, especially for the man who hits golf balls into the woods from the hours of 4:00am to 7:00am, every single day – rain, snow, sleet. Shit, apocalyptic conditions couldn’t even slow him down. Lastly, and my personal favorite, I’ve pinned one neighbor as the head of a child prostitution ring. You hear children crying from his house at all hours, yet you rarely see anyone come or go. Except under the cloak of darkness.
You name it, we’ve got it in my neighborhood. With the odd-ball cast of characters, it’s hard to keep track of all the latest buzz. But just like my grandmother, I’m committed to the job.
It’s a messy world out there, but someone has to keep track of it.