Monday, September 23, 2013

Neighborhood Watch

If you follow the news at all (or maybe even if you don't), you've no doubt heard countless stories about the government keeping tabs on your emails, web surfing habits and how many times a day you go to the bathroom. As disturbing as that may be, it should come as no surprise that the government is capable of turning into a James Bond villain. And similarly, most of us have more to fear from ordinary people than super villains.

I have been working from home for twelve years now. Most of that time has been spent working in rooms without a view. However, I am now set up with an office in the front of the house and as we remodel, said office has no curtains. Hence, anything that happens outside distracts me or captures my attention. It recently occurred to me that I know way too much about the neighborhood and can tell time by what is happening outside. And because my job regularly requires me to work nights, I have quite a timeline.

I know that someone across the street works the graveyard shift leaving the house about 1:00 a.m., returning for lunch at 5:30 and then leaving again at 6:30 a.m. Shortly after, the first dogwalker passes by in the dark. After sunrise, more dogwalkers come by including the woman in the black yoga pants and her hair pulled back so tight, it wrenches a permanent scowl on her face. She is followed by an older woman walking her terrier. This woman wears one of those hunting caps with ear flaps, even in July.

At about 7:45 a.m., the high school neighbors take off to school in their cars. One next door neighbor leaves for work about the same time. I always see him because he parks his car in other people's driveways instead of his own. The father across the street leaves for work at 8:30. A hipster doofus with long blond hair makes his way to the corner 7-11 for his morning Big Gulp. He'll make a return trip in the afternoon. If it's Monday, the local grocery store catering truck delivers groceries to the retired woman across the street. On Thursdays, her cleaning lady comes at 10:00.

At 11:00, two different women jog past. Sometimes one of them will be jogging with her boyfriend in which case they race to the stop sign. He usually wins, but I bet she lets him. The afternoon is a little slower especially in the summer. A few bikers will go by including a senior citizen dressed in button down shirt, nice slacks and helmet. And he must ride for at least an hour up and down the street. The mailperson comes by at 4:00.

But I recognize everyone and can spot the door-to-door salespeople. I know which cars should be on the street, which shouldn't and make sure the cars driving too slowly keep moving on.

St. Pauli Girl and I spend most nights on the back porch for happy hour during warm weather. A few weeks ago, a thunderstorm broke out, and we were forced inside where we sat in our breakfast nook by the front door. We watched the rain and lightning while sipping on our wine. St. Pauli Girl pointed to a house across the street where a couple of teenagers embraced on the front porch. A minute later, the girl looked up and moved in for the kiss which quickly turned into a heated makeout session.

St. Pauli Girl and I whooped and cheered them on. We started to give advice which they couldn't possibly hear. The girl seemed to be the aggressor as she moved her hands under his shirt, and he stood passively with his arms barely grazing her side.

“He needs to go for the butt grab,” I said. “He's standing there like this happens to him all the time.”

“Maybe it does,” St. Pauli Girl said.

“Regardless, he needs to seize the moment.”

After another minute or so, his hands finally slid slowly down her back and pulled her tight.

“Yes! The two-handed butt grab!” I cheered.

St. Pauli Girl and I high-fived each other and applauded as the kiss finally broke up.

In short, people should worry less about the government and more about their creepy neighbors.


  1. Well, you have given me plenty to think about. Now if I make out on the front porch, I won't be the aggessor.

    You certainly have a cast of characters in your neighborhood. Floppy eared hats in TX in July. That person is insane...possibly dangerous.

    AND what whackadoodle parks his car on his neighbor's driveway? I wouldn't allow that as I tend to be very territorial. I don't go around my house marking it in any obscene way but still...what is mine is mine.

    AND what is wrong with young boys there? There was an open invitation and it took him a long time to even butt grab. Damn, with today's lax views on sex, he could have been getting a.......ummmm.. to the prom.

    1. The guy parking his car, I think he parks it in driveways where he knows the occupants are not home. He thinks he's keeping the neighborhood safe I guess.

      "Date to the prom" LOL! I have to remember to use that line in the future. Based on my own experience or lack thereof, I found it troubling that he wasn't seizing the day or anything else. Thanks for the comments.

  2. OMG, your timing couldn't be funnier - I was just bitching about Google ruining privacy this morning. Meanwhile, I should be more worried about voyeurs like you and your wife! ;)

    1. Yeah I still like the idea of your co-worker going to porn sites to confuse google. But it's amazing the mundane things that happen all around us if we just take the time to look around every now and then. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Hahahahaha! I love it! I have nothing to hide so I couldn't give a damn if the government is spying on me...they really have more interesting people and things to be spying on then me, however. My life is simple...and probably extremely boring to all others, including the government/s!

    I am wondering now, though, why my neighbour is always sitting up in his tree over there!! I thought it was a scrub turkey at first; but his coughing gave him away, not the feathers stuck up his butt! ;)

    1. Okay, I like my neighbors much better than yours! I think everyone thinks their life is uninteresting for the most part. And then you go and do something like making out on the porch or putting feathers up your butt, and suddenly you're pretty interesting. Thanks for the comment.

    2. I really don't have any neighbours close by, Dexter. That fellow with the feathers up his butt is just a figment of my imagination...I think!

      Where I live here I'm surrounded by much land, lots of trees, hares, birds, wood ducks and scrub turkeys, but no nearby visible neighbours or houses....something I relish!

      My landlords live on this same block of land...which is an area of 3 acres (1.2 hectares)...but their home is up one end of the property and my cabin is down the other end with lots of trees in between, blocking our view of each other...again something I relish, and cherish!

      But I might just go and put my night goggles on...because I thought I saw an outline in the could be a possum, of course...or that darn scrub turkey! Where is Wile E. Coyote when I need him??

      It's not my landlord because he and his wife flew off to the UK on Tuesday night...those feathers must work! ;)

    3. Oh that's right, I should have remembered that. The feathers make much more sense now. Our previous home was in the country not nearly as remote as yours but its was almost scary how quiet it would get at night. Until the meth neighbors pickup trucks would roar down the street at 2:00 a.m.!

  4. You know, watching the neighbourhood too obsessively got George Zimmerman into a lot of trouble. Not as much trouble as poor Trayvon, of course, but there's a lesson there for all of us.

    1. Good point, plus in Texas you have to assume everyone is armed. I think I was mostly amazed at how unconsciously I picked up on these daily events. Hope to have curtains in the office soon to cut down on the distractions. Thanks for the comment.

  5. I have a large bay window through which I keep tabs on all the goings on in my neighbourhood. One thing that perplexes me is a young man with a white cane with a red tip. He is blind, right? Not so fast on the judgment because 2 days ago I saw him running very fast with his cane tucked under his arm. I said, "faker!". But not out the window. Because god forbid he really is blind and I become the neighbourhood monster who makes fun of the blind.

  6. Maybe he'd gotten really good at memorizing his route! You make a good point; it's probably better to just watch than to go and get involved. Thanks for the comment.