Monday, October 16, 2006

The People In Our Neighborhood

Richie listens to a Sesame Street cd with the song "These are the people in our neighborhood."

I remember hearing the same song and, even as a kid, thinking, "Really? Everyone in your neighborhood is a civil servant who loves to do his part for society? What about the neighbor whose burp you can hear from halfway around the block and who decorates his Christmas tree with beer cans? Or the mean lady who confiscates your baseballs when they fall in her yard because they "kill the grass." Or the guys who apparently have full-time jobs as mean-spirited frisbee throwers?"

No...It's "Oh the postman always brings the mail through wind and snow and sleet and hail..."

Today Richie and I ran an errand to the drug store down the street. There was a 50 year old man eating tootsie rolls in the candy aisle. Just unwrapping them one after another and popping them in his mouth. I don't know if he was sampling them or what, but apparently he liked what he tasted and bought a bunch of them along with purple wine coolers. Another lady was staring at trail mix for like an hour. It was like a contest to determine the ingredients without picking up the packages. And I was staring at her staring at it.

On another errand, a man asked me to sign a petition. I said no thanks. He turned back around and said, "Hey, do you want to sign this petition?" I said, "no" again, and a couple seconds later he asked, "Oh, hey, do you want to sign here?"

I could just picture what was going through his head.

"Well, she didn't want to sign. Maybe I'll have better luck with this lady. Nope, maybe this next lady will sign." He really thought I was three different people.

I was ready to say, "Yeah, I'll sign it. I don't know what those other lady's problem is. Snoo-tay."

Then the manager came out and said, "Will you do me a favor? Get off my property."

These are the people in our neighborhood.

The man who leaves his Christmas decorations up until seemingly the 4th of July. Rumor has it his wife left him at Christmas. Here I just thought he was lazy.

The older lady who every time you see her says, "Well, I'll be moving out soon." And you ask, "Where are you moving to?" And she says, "Well, hopefully, I'm going to die." And you look at her surprised, and she says, all non-challant, as if talking about a slot machine, "Honey, I'm ready to cash it in. I'm too old for this."

These are the people in our neighborhood.

The older lady brings us her margerine and candy if she and her ill son don't eat it by a certain date. It always smells like cigarette smoke. And it always has a really lovely, often melancholy note attached..."The flowers are wilting, as am I. Some sweets for my sweet neighbors."

They contribute to society. Just not like in the song. Of course, it would be a pretty awkward kid song if they sang about the people that were really in our neighborhoods:

Oh, George can't wait to get ho-ome
To eat his tootsie ro-olls.

And Bob sees everyone in triplicate
And asks them to sign petitions.

These are the people in our neighborhood...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is that Kansas City or San Francisco

7:01 AM  
Anonymous better be anonomous on thes one said...

I recognize 2 from the good old days on this block. How about the car thief! What about the nurses. Catch the cat!

6:27 PM  
Anonymous sarah said...

My neighbor sat in his parked car drinking beer and throwing the empties in the back seat. It was filled to the brim.

8:08 PM  
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7:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Its Beth VanDyke, My mom sent me the link and I have to say reading this makes my day! Your kids crack me up.

9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am laughing, once again, Bridge! I love picturing you staring at the lady staring at the trail mix!!

11:07 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

Ok, this is the last one I'm going to read tonight. No, really . . . It's eleven and I have a flight tomorrow. What about Scuba Steve? The guy who walked really fast up and down Main talking to himself and wearing a scuba mask and an American flag cape? Sometimes I miss him. We also had a transvestite in Waldo at one time. Where do these people go? What better place to live than Waldo?

9:03 PM  

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