The Neighbors

Most of you are reading this from the comfort of your own home, a place – whether rented, owned or inherited – is the place you chose to live.

Some of you may want an extra room, a new kitchen, or maybe a second or third bathroom, and for the most part you can change whatever you want. Except once you walk out your front door, all bets are off. You can’t renovate your neighbors; as they weren’t part of the deal when you moved in. I bet the real estate agent that showed you the place never even mentioned them.

Sometimes you’re blessed with decent people around you, but even they can get under your skin after a while. Even if you try to avoid most of them, somehow you still manage to get stuck interacting with them all. Maybe an evening of cards, a not so quick beer, or a kid’s birthday party you’re obligated to go to.

Then there is the dreaded block party that starts off nice enough. A spring breeze gently blows while you socialize with the other parents, watching the kids jump around in one of those bouncy castles. While a DJ plays oldies, you start to remember, why you haven’t spoken to this cast of characters since last year. There’s the recovering from everything guy a few doors down, the schemer a few doors the other way, and let’s not forget the fake drug dealer/gangster who of course lives with the part-time Jezebel.

At least the old grease ball couple is nice enough, though you have to remind yourself not to eat the wife’s baked ziti. Years ago, you had two helpings before you noticed the raisins had legs. You overlooked the dirt under her nails, even the fart she ripped next to you, but the extra ingredients are another story. Then, to add to the conondrum sometime after eating your umpteenth plate of dried out Lasagna, and slurping the last bit of peach out of your cup of wine, you realize those flashing lights are not coming from the DJ booth, but from the tops of enough police cars to film a “Smokey & the Bandit” remake.

Well maybe not that many, and you actually recognize a few cops from last year, when your neighbor had one beer too many and thought he was Mike Tyson in a whorehouse. Except, instead  of a brothel he was in front of your house and using the philosophy, “if you can’t eat it or fuck it, let’s try and beat it up.”