July 7, 2004

Old Neighbors

Long ago in another life phase, The Boy and I lived in Woodbridge, Virginia. Our neighborhood was the stereotypical definition of blue collar living. On one side of us lived Traditional Family and on the other side lived Hippy Family.

Traditional Family consisted of a Mom, Dad and 2 daughters. Well maybe not quite so traditional because Daughter One is from mom's first marriage. Perhaps I should say they are a traditional blended family. That'll work. Dad was a cop and mom worked as an accounting clerk for the local trash service. Very nice people. Fanatical about washing their automobiles, however. Every weekend, rain or shine. I'm serious. I've seen them out in the rain soaping up their cars. To each their own. They were good neighbors.

Hippy Family was not traditional by any definition. Mom was a checker at the local Giant Food store. I'm not sure what Dad did, outside of playing in a rock band. Mom was about 15 years older than Dad. They had one devil spawn of a daughter who could only have originated in the center of all that is evil (I saw her puking in the front yard from drinking too much one time too many to be magnanimous. Puking in the front yard was NOT a common occurrence in the neighborhood except at the Hippy Family house. And seeing that even once was one time to many, ya know?). The other daughter was a normal enough little girl (until growing up in her devil spawn sister's shadow turned her into a drug-using redneck slut but we had already moved before that transformation and I only heard that second hand).

I was fairly shy back in those days and did not seek out interface with my neighbors. It was too daunting. I was dealing with many life changing events at that time and did not see the need to carry familiarity beyond a wave and hello. Hippy Dad and his band used to practice in their basement way way way into the wee wee hours of the morning. This was not good. Not good at all. I'd lay awake at night fuming to the bass beat that was so loud they may as well have been playing in my bedroom. Or sometimes they would arrive home after a gig and unload their equipment. They were boisterous and loud, which I wouldn't have minded except my bedroom window overlooked their driveway and they never arrived home earlier than 2 am. I finally decided it was worth risking their neighborly wrath and I began calling the police instead of fuming.

Yes yes, I know. Perhaps I should have spoken with them first and explained how their inconsideration was interrupting my beauty sleep. Perhaps I could have reasoned with them and negotiated an equitable compromise. I took the easy way out. The police were quite responsive and never took more than 5 minutes to arrive, even for a non-emergency type of complaint such as that. I'd hear them pull up and begin knocking on Hippy Family's front door. Like they could hear a knock with all that "music" being played in the basement. Typically, the cops would then head to the backyard through the side gate and knock on the basement door. The "music" would halt and be replaced by Hippy Dude's loud voice laughingly reassuring the police they would cease and desist their noise pollution, at least for that evening.

Hippy Family also had a dog they left outside for hours on end. This poor dog barked incessantly and spoiled many a Sunday afternoon nap for me. I didn't call the cops on the dog however. It was daytime after all. I did the bold thing and knocked on their door, suppressing my irritation and asking politely if they would SHUT THEIR FUCKING DOG UP. Not in those exact words of course. They were so clueless. Once in the summer when I had to go remind them to be responsible dog parents, Hippy Dad was laying on the sofa. I could see him through the open front door as I approached. He was like, "Oh, is the dog barking? I didn't notice." Yeesh.

I'm not sure either family knew what to think when they realized a lesbian had moved in next door. And they did notice. At least Traditional Family did. More on that later perhaps.

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