5.18.2012

neighbors and angels

dandelion fuzz

Of course, I jest. I would never kill the new neighbors. I just want them to pack up and move back where they came from, Hawaii, I think.

The previous neighbors were perfect: a youngish couple and a polite boy who looked maybe eight or nine, and a dog. They were a quiet crew and kept to themselves. I had no clues about the plump, thirty-something, bearded man with glasses, but the woman was a "hot vice principal" per Gardener M., who lives on the other side of me. Sometimes I'd see the VP out in the neighborhood jogging in yoga pants and baseball cap or taking the dog for a walk, her long, honey hair glowing in the sun, shining in rain. Even their medium-sized dog was quiet. On warm evenings, the woman would shoot hoops with the boy, who called her by her first name (B—), so she probably wasn't his mother, though who knows. One time, soon after they moved in, the French doors open, I happened to hear the woman say to her husband/partner/boyfriend, their voices wafting like dandelion fuzz on a breeze, "I can't believe we're in the middle of the city." They seemed so humbly grateful—and they were so charmingly quiet. Theirs is a two-story, shingled old house, with a covered patio back of the garage, including (yes, I'm jealous) a long brick barbecue and fireplace, complete with chimney. We never actually met, let alone said good-bye, though we were on smiling "hello" terms. A few months ago, they moved quietly out of the green house next door one Saturday because they were only renting and their landlord, the new neighbor, decided to move back in.


view of the neighbors

One would think the new situation would be similar to the old: a lanky man with a few arm tattoos (some kind of doctor, says Gardener M.) in his 40's; a petite 20-something, dark-haired, almond-eyed woman with a high voice; a little girl, age three or four; plus two dogs. But no. Lord, no. Add a motorcycle revving in the driveway for five minutes before The Man roars off down the street. Add two large dogs barking at the intruder next door (me) every time I go down to the garden to cut kale or do some watering. Add The Man or The Woman yelling at the barking dog, "Daisy! Stop that! Get in here!" Add The Man singing along loudly to reggae beats while cutting something—wood, I imagine—with an electric saw. Add voices so carrying that one can hear entire family conversations, such as:

"We're going to walk to the park at OMSI." (Woman to Man's visiting Mother—my best guess)
"Walk to OMSI?!" (Mother-in-law's reply)

Note: Walking to OMSI (the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry on the southeast waterfront) from here takes 15 minutes max, 20 if one were a turtle. (See previous-previous post.)

And they, like me lately, seem to be always home. If The Man is a doctor, he doesn't seem to have a doctor gig. He's always outside calling to his wife/partner/girfriend in the house or replying loudly to the little girl's frequent cry for "Daddy!" I know the new people next door are not the worst neighbors ever. The worst neighbors ever would be cooking meth in the basement, letting the yard go to weeds (like mine), painting the house purple with hot-pink trim, and singing along, thirty close friends at a time, to polka late at night in the backyard while barbecuing disappearing neighborhood cats and squirrel shot off the electric lines, the pelts drying from a rope in the front yard. In fact, these new neighbors are probably decent folk who aren't intending to be annoying with their dogs, motorcycle, and projecting voices. They're just loud and can't help it.

Though most people read 'quiet' as code for boring, it tends to reveal, if one waits long enough, a rich internal life opening like a flower blooming out of sight. Quiet people may one day surprise us. Loud people never will; antics (yawn) are expected. But no one, I say no one, will ever compare to the former tenants next door, those perfect neighbors for whom I will forever yearn, seeking their faces in crowds, never again encountering their angelic like.


cherub with gnome-fairy

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