Miss Janey's Neighborhood

Abner Kravitz: Gladys, you were born a hundred years too late.
Gladys Kravitz: What do you mean by that?
Abner Kravitz: You'd have made a great town crier.

Today is the kind of day where one just wants to be outside. A vast cloudless sky – an ombré sort of blue in color. Air temp – just right. Air scent – just right. Crisply warm but with the faintest spring undertone. I am facing west, though, so this “warm” thing might just be directional.

I decided to take advantage of this ah-mah-zing-ness and drag my hacking, still-slightly-cold-laden self out to my back porch for some natural inspiration. There are pros and cons to this… the biggest con is that the computer screen, illuminated in glorious sunlight, acts like a mirror.

One word: ugh.

Pay no attention to the broad in the monitor.

It’s nice to be able to take time to slow down and soak in my neighborhood from this vantage point, weird as it may be. The neighborhood, that is.

I knew the ‘hood out my front door was interesting… yours would be too if you had an alleged drug-dealing merchant marine living across the street. Picture Chris Robinson of Black Crowes fame, only slightly shorter and more seedy. I think he’s off on a “mission” right now, since the Neighbors Who Don’t Speak To Me For No Apparent Reason are parking their cars in his driveway and the sounds of his chrome-loaded chopper haven’t resonated through the neighborhood in a while.

And speaking of the NWHSTOFNAP – I have no idea why I get the cold shoulder from the lady of the house whenever we’re outside at the same time. I used to say hello, but after enough non-responses to be embarrassing, I just merely smile and nod now. What-ever. Maybe she doesn’t like the kind of car I drive. Or my politics.

They were the first (and one of two, actually) people to put a McCain/Palin sign in their yard. And the American flag that waves from the giant flagpole every day was conspicuously absent on January 20th. Yeah, I looked.

I suspect that the Obama euro circle sticker that has been on my car for over a year now might have something to do with all this. But I will likely never know. The husband is more social – he will at least make small talk, and their dogs are adorable. It’s too bad.


I have discovered that the alley (unpaved pot-hole haven that it is – yay city services!) is its own little bargain-basement Sesame Street of activity… helmed by my two-doors-down neighbor Lois.

True confession: whenever – and I do mean whenever – I see her, I always mutter her name under my breath in the style of Stewie Griffin.

“Looois.” I might toss in a “you and your estrogenical treachery” for good measure, if I’m feeling particularly saucy. Stupid, I know. But it makes me laugh. So there you are.

Lois patrols the alley like Schultz patrolled Stalag 13 – only she’s slightly more on the ball. She’s big pals with the snowbirds that are in residence in their house directly to our west – lots of back door fun there. They’re very nice people – but damn, do they fight a lot. And loudly. He’s fond of wife-beater t-shirt and older gentlemen-style action slack denim pants. She walks everywhere, as she doesn’t know how to drive. They’re from Chicago and I suppose she simply never had the need to get a license.

Lois never met a situation she didn’t want to know more about. I was cleaning out the garage a couple of years ago and had propped up an old, split and dinged-up head/footboard set against the fence. After cursory pleasantries, she inquired as to the status of said pieces. Before the words “Goodwill” were barely passed my lips, she was dragging Abner down the alley to help her carry them back to her house with a “thank you!” echoing against the dust clouds in her wake. She actually saved me from having to load them up and haul them away – but still. You know? I find I’m often rendered speechless and helpless in the face of such chutzpah, simply because I’m in awe or shock or something.

Anyhoo again.

I spied a new character today whilst communing with suburban Mother Nature. Not sure if said person is a he or she, to be honest. Older with a remarkable resemblance to Burgess Meredith wearing a Gilligan hat. Armed with a large plastic bag and this thing. I had no idea that people actually bought these things -- who knew?

Burgess Meredith/Meredith Burgess was taking an alley stroll and poaching oranges and grapefruit from the trees in people’s yards. Snatching them off trees and putting them into the plastic bag. Watched him/her do it to my across-the-alley neighbor’s tangelo tree. Am sure the grapefruit trees down the way were hit as well.

Why does this not surprise me. It’s times like this when I wish I had more finely-honed paparazzi skills.

And as the sun sets and the crispness in the air gets more pronounced, the smell of charcoal and sizzle drifts in. The sounds of children’s laughter (including that of my own Kiddo) ring in the air. Burgess Meredith/Meredith Burgess is probably enjoying some ill-gotten juice. And Lois – well, to be honest, I don’t even what to venture a guess what she’s up to.

Just another day in paradise, y’all.


mehitabel said...

Well, my neighborhood isn't nearly as interesting, except for the house across the street which is once again for sale. This is the kind of place where my next-door-neighbor's daughter approached my daughter at their 10-year reunion and asked if we lived next door. Yes, they were here when the girls graduated. No, we don't speak much, and Neighbor Girl was a snob who didn't talk to Band Geeks so they weren't friends then. Sigh.

TopSurf said...

....and in my neighborhood there is no sounds except for the occasional snow plow that drives through periodically. Color me all shades of jealous. Thanks for taking me away to another place even if it was only in my head.