‘I haven’t sighed like that since the war’, I thought to myself after processing the sight of the carnage strewn about my backyard. ‘God, what a drama queen.’
The neighbor to my left (your right) up and moved away last week. He’d been offered a promotion in the Whole Foods franchise of wholesome food distribution market-like places and with the promotion came the opportunity to move up north closer to the kids and the grandkids. It was an opportunity too good to pass up. With the possible exception of me, no one could possibly find any reason why someone shouldn’t capitalize on such an opportunity. He stopped by to drop off my spare house key and say, ‘So long’, the night before he and his wife left.
Me (inner monologue): Well, shit.
Me (out loud): Well, shit.
They were the perfect neighbors. They’d rented the house, but as part of the rental agreement had thrown themselves into transforming both the inside and the outside, as well as the yard. Their garden won awards. They replaced the wiring and re-did the kitchen, the basement, and the bathroom, all in exchange for absurdly cheap rent. They loved my dogs and my dogs loved them. I actually miss the mournful AROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO of their elderly bassett hound, who’d waddle around their yard barking at not much of anything before collapsing in a heap to catch up on some much-needed shut eye. Their awesome quotient was magnified by the fact that my other neighbor is a surly lesbian. They were such great neighbors. Have I mentioned how wonderful they were?
In the days following their departure, passing the newly emptied house made me feel empty. It just sucks. You never realize the amount of comfort you unconsciously derive from living next to people that don’t suck. And believe me….that house has seen its share of shitty tenants on an epic scale. The landlady advertises the house’s availability at the hospital, since one would think that its proximity would invite some nice medical intern yearning to be within walking distance of his/her meal ticket. And yet somehow she managed to keep renting to sporadically-employed deadbeats until her most recent tenants arrived. So, I have no idea who’ll end up in there now. Probably some dog-hating Glenn Beck disciple who enjoys listening to christian rock with the volume cranked to ‘PROSELYTIZE’. Fucker (foreshadowing). The only way this might work for me would be if this guy and the surly lesbian kickbox or have slap-fights every other day in front of my house. And what are the odds of that happening? Poor, I’m guessing.
Which brings us back to yesterday morning. Weekend mornings find me ingesting large, unhealthy breakfasts (waffles one day, sausage-packed breakfast burritos the next), enough coffee to wire a rhino, the NY Times, and NPR. The dogs get walked, fed, then released out back to tackle each other. This morning, I’d forgotten that I’d left a bag of trash sitting on the deck, so later when I raised the shades in order to fill the room with glorious rays of life-sustaining sunshine, the sight that greeted me was a yard full of trash and two dogs suddenly frozen in mid-destruction, looking back at their benefactor holding his coffee and gritting his teeth.
After the sighing and the drooping of the head and the hopeless chuckle, I thought that now with the one set of neighbors gone, I could probably get away with mercilessly beating the dogs. I looked over at the empty yard next door, jealous of its lack of trash and with its dormant flower beds and garden, then snapped out of it. They really loved those furry little bastards. Violence isn’t the answer. Besides. Were I to raise the black flag and start kicking doggy ass, one or both of them would probably retaliate by killing me in my sleep or, worse, pooping in my shoes.
Facts: I really miss my former neighbors and their deadly bassett hound of death, scourge of mailmen and impetuous children, wielder of a single mighty bark that brought gods to their knees and required the dog himself to lie down and recover. My dogs are assholes, except most of the time when they’re not. I’m flanked by an empty house on one side and a surly lesbian on the other. Glenn Beck is an idiot.
Sir @ February 15, 2010