We have problems with our neighbors.
Nothing major that would call for more than, say, one police car, just a bunch of minor stuff.
For a while I thought it was something we were doing, as if that were possible, model citizens we are, but I reasoned it out and we’re definitely not the problem. For a start, we’re still here and all of our neighbors have moved away. Several times. No family has lived next to us for longer than two years. It can’t be because of anything we’ve said to them because we don’t talk to our neighbors; we just watch them through the windows.
On two occasions I tried to be “nice” to the new neighbors. I even went so far as to read up on How to Be Nice to New Neighbors in old Miss Manners columns and she gave me great tips like “look presentable, not creepy,” “bring a housewarming gift,” and “smile.”
So, I did that.
I showered, blow-dryed my hair and slathered on some Insta-Tan from Wal-Mart. I think that stuff makes me look like Ricardo Mondeblan , put on new Argyle socks and my best, dress sandals, Hawaiian shirt and my aviator’s Blu-Ray shades. Is it hot in here or is it me? I was good to go.
As a housewarming gift I picked up a bag of Fire Ant Bait since that’s a problem in our neighborhood, at least on our side of the street. Actually, sort of confined to our house and the neighbors on either side. Fire ants have been known to devour entire cows; I saw that on the Discovery Channel. I figured I could work that into the conversation so they’d appreciate the magnitude of my housewarming gift. Subtlety is my middle name.
I rang the bell and presently Neighbor Lady and I were peeking at each other through her partially cracked doorway. Judging from her stare she might have been hitting on me, which was highly inappropriate since we had just met. I noted that she was security conscious, though, and kept the safety chain hooked on her door, a wise precaution in this day and age.
In retrospect, I think the conversation went well. I told her in graphic detail about the fate of the cow on the Discovery Channel and when I told her I was her neighbor she exclaimed, “Oh, my!”
She was obviously impressed at having such a well-educated naturalist living right next door. To clear up any confusion I emphasized that I was a naturalist, one who studies nature, rather than a naturist, one who practices nudism and certainly never in the front yard.
I also told her that I thought the theory that rabid possums were responsible for the rash of Bichon Frise deaths in the neighborhood was highly overrated. No, it was definitely the work of raccoons or maybe large snakes, possibly rented.
Finally, I was able to slip the bag of Fire Ant Bait to Neighbor Lady without making her unchain the door. She really appreciated the gift because I heard her say as she closed the door, “Oh. My. God!”
Nothing like a first impression. I always say that.