Once in a while, a thought occurs to me. It’s not always a good one, but at least it is a thought.
I once saw an episode of “The King of Queens” where Carrie turns to Doug with the revelation, “WE’RE he neighborhood freaks!!” Of course, they were outside their house, having a shouting match regarding some outlandish predicament while the neighbors were hiding behind their curtains.
It hasn’t quite come to that, but I fear it’s only a matter of time. I mean, here you are going along in life thinking that you are a non-entity in your environment, you have no kids who TP the surrounding houses nor do you run a crystal meth lab in your basement, no predilection on your husband’s part to mow the lawn in Victoria’s Secret, no desire to visit next door to “spread the Word” and yet…..
Last summer’s Lawn Lady incident notwithstanding, I find myself doing things that my neighbors just do not do. First of all, I rescue and board dogs. I am out and about with myriad dogs every day. So, people refer to me as ” The Dog Woman” – like the bearded lady in the circus. One woman on the next block asked if I used then as research or stole them to sell. I swear to you, she asked me that. It was such an absurd thing to say that I asked her why on earth she would ask such a thing and she said, ‘Well, I watch you through my curtains, and you certainly seem to have a lot of different dogs.” Idiot. If memory serves, that was my explanation.
The woman next door once asked why I was showering at 2PM. First of all, why the hell is she up and looking in my bathroom window at 2 AM? I happen to be a bad sleeper and sometimes find a shower soothing. Furthermore, why do I have to defend this to anyone?
Even if someone finds your behavior strange, what gives them the right to come out and ask you? It’s no one’s damn business if I’m prying the supports off my garage, making it look like the wonky witch’s hovel at some sad little amusement park. I had my reasons. It lists terribly now. Turned out to have been a poor DIY decision on my part, but moving on……
One guy asked why we came home one night at 3 o’clock in the morning. Another neighbor told me that by feeding the squirrels, birds, and chipmunks in my yard, I an attracting coyotes and would call animal services on me. Another neighbor wants to know why my lawn looks like a chemical waste dump, regardless of the fact that National Grid has been trying to fix a gas leak in front of my house for two years. Apparently, I’m bringing down “the tone” on our street. Get a grip, dude, we don’t live in Beverly Hills. Again, if memory serves, that was my answer.
But, the real revelation came last year while I was climbing my front stairs with about 87 bags of groceries, missed my footing and fell over backward on the cement, right on to my head. I knocked myself out, and let me tell you, head-wounds bleed like nobody’s business. Only one guy (in his 20’s) approached me and asked if I wanted help into the house.
I believe I barely was able to whisper, “No” because I couldn’t move. He said, Ok” and went in his house, not to be seen again. No call to 911?
I was in a semi-conscious state, but I know damn well people actually drove by. Now I know people have their own problems, but you’ve got to be pretty far up your own ass not to notice a woman bleeding to death on the sidewalk. Fortunately for me, Tom came careening down the street a couple of minutes later, thinking I had been shot.
In the emergency room, while I was being patched up and waiting for a bed (the wound was so bad, I got admitted), Tom had calmed down some, and said, “Why wouldn’t anyone stop?” I thought about this and answered, “Because WE’RE the neighborhood freaks.”