Our lovely neighbor started lighting fireworks in front of our house this Friday night at 9:30 p.m. and that jerk move reminded me of this story I wrote a few years ago. Seriously, is it too much to ask to have normal people live next door?
My annoying neighbors are moving. Heading off to parts unknown. Slippin’ out the back, Jack and makin’ a new plan, Stan. And as I watch them pack up their sticky belongings, I can’t wait for them to leave. But I sure as hell will miss them.
They sold their house in a mere two weeks, advertising it as a “Tuscan Delight!” Of course, the closest that house has ever come to resembling an Italian villa was probably when the 12-year-old genius living there smeared a Meat Lover’s pizza on the wall, but obviously their realtor knew what she was doing. It wouldn’t have sold as quickly being touted as the more accurate “Cat Piss Charmer!” or “Weedy Wonderland!”
When we moved next door to these people a couple of years ago, I eagerly waited for them to welcome us to the neighborhood. I’m still waiting. Sure, I could have gone over there and introduced myself, but doesn’t etiquette say they should make the first move? Besides, if I’d gone over there and made friends, I wouldn’t have felt justified in launching my one-sided grudge match against them. When the suburbs don’t offer enough drama, offer some of your own, baby.
Once I gave them official Nemesis status, I felt free to spy on them as often as I liked. I called this my “daily surveillance.” My husband called it my “weirdly paranoid personality disorder that compels me to peep through the blinds like a junkie on the lam.” Same thing, really. But I figured since they didn’t take five minutes to come over and tell me about themselves, I was entitled to learn about them on my own.
And learn about them I did.
For example, I learned that when the husband (“Hairball Sr.”) is outside in their pool, which is eye level to our kitchen window, he likes to whip out his special purpose and pee in the bushes. Bushes that are also eye level to our kitchen window. By the end of last summer, I’d seen his penis so often, I could probably pick it out of a police line-up were it some day involved in a crime. And let’s just say, it’s a distinct possibility. That thing looks like it’s got plans.
I also learned that on special occasions, the wife (“Mrs. Hairball”) enjoys blasting Def Leppard and pretending that their backyard tether ball pole is another kind of pole entirely. Too bad I never had any spare ones lying around so I could show her my appreciation for keeping me entertained on a bad TV night.
Then there’s the aforementioned 12-year-old genius (“Hairball Jr.”) who’s always fascinating to watch, whether he’s trying to shove his mattress out a second floor window or scaling the roof of his house in flippers so he can jump into the pool. One memorable day I saw him and his equally bright toady friends lighting things on fire. On their wooden deck. Now, assuming they were probably kicked out of the Boy Scouts for insubordination, wouldn’t they still know this was a bad idea? Even cavemen knew “flame plus wood equal three-alarm fire” and their brains were the size of kiwi fruit.
But I admit, as I peeked through my window that particular day, waiting for the deck to go up in flames like a Viking funeral pyre, I actually started to admire him and the rest of the little cretins. After all, they weren’t doing lame adult woman things like folding laundry and defrosting organic chicken. No, they were livin’, man. Flirtin’ with that bitch named disaster. “Who cares if we get sent to a quasi-legal boot camp for at-risk teens,” they sneered. “These cans of Lysol and Aquanet are gonna burn, dude. Burrrnnnn!!!”
Unfortunately, that incident ended rather anti-climatically without a visit from an emergency crew, but I still waited eagerly for one of the 12 year-old’s other moronic schemes to pay off in sirens. When none did, my interest in the anti-neighbors finally started to wane a bit. Alas, grudge matches, like love affairs, quickly grow stale and die when the possibility of serious grave injury wears off.
And so, after months of no real action, I stopped caring about what the neighbors were doing and gave up my daily viewings through the kitchen window. Now these people were no longer my wildly intriguing arch enemies bent on neighborhood domination. Rather, just a slightly annoying chubby family who lived in a badly painted house and who didn’t put their trash cans away in a timely manner. Which didn’t make them that much different from anyone else on the block.
Of course the spy flame still flickered on occasion. Like the day they weren’t home and five muscular African-American men had a hip-hop party in their pool, then left minutes before the neighbors returned. Or the night the genius and his toadies were on our lawn at 2 a.m. loudly calling each other “Feces Face” and wrestling like five year-old girls. But for the most part, the thrill was gone.
That is, until I saw their “For Sale” sign go up two weeks ago.
Suddenly, all the old feelings came forcefully rushing back. I was outraged! Hurt! They were leaving me? Didn’t they know how much I cared about them? Didn’t they know how much I needed their pseudo white trash freakiness in my life? How much I needed their “was that just the wife running topless through the front yard being chased by a gang of poodles” fun? Who was going to supply me with amusing stories I could tell my friends now? The stupid honor student across the street? The old guy behind us who thinks the cable installer is a government operative? The f***ing SCRAPBOOKERS?
But then I thought about it and realized that maybe the weirdos weren’t actually moving because the Homeowner’s Association finally forced them out for violating more deed restrictions than the Clampetts. Or because they were paying their mortgage in money made from selling recycled Budweiser cans. Maybe they were moving because they knew that leaving was the best thing for all of us. I’m sure it wasn’t because they’d seen my beady blue eyes staring at them through the blinds one too many times.
In just a few weeks, an unlicensed moving van will show up to carry my nemeses to an unsuspecting planned community in another part of town. I’ll look out my window and watch them go with a sad, sentimental smile on my face and send them off with a small wave good-bye. Then I’ll sit on my couch and wait for the new neighbors to arrive. And when they do, I’ll think hard about going over to welcome them to the neighborhood. But in the end, I won’t.
After all, where’s the drama in that?