In my neighborhood we, once again, have some interesting characters. To our west we have a guy who refuses to cover his giant gut with a shirt. It's getting better now that the weather is cooling off. He has a wife, teenage daughter and some annoying dogs. He had a successful vegetable garden. There are three big cucumbers hanging from a vine on our fence and my wife is very worried that they will ruin before the neighbors pick them. When I was roofing the shed he yelled at me, "What the hell are ya buildin'?" I said, "It's a shed." Aside from that I've only heard him and his family yelling about all of the guns they own and which gun belongs to whom.
To the east of us is an old widow. Her name is Flo. She is retired. She doesn't work. She doesn't seem to go anywhere. She does nothing but spend every waking moment making sure her lawn is in perfect condition and, when she gets a chance, she comes and talks to us about what we can do to make OUR yard more perfect.
She sees the needles that fall from our pine tree and on to her lawn and reacts as if we are throwing dirty diapers on her grass without wadding them up first. She tells us that previous owners of the house agreed to cut down the tree but canceled that plan when they put the house up for sale. Hint, hint. She says, "And I told Jack that these are HIS pine needles and that HE should rake them up. And HE did a couple of times. Well that was awfully kind of him, Flo. You really shouldn't have let a neighbor like that get away from you. Oh how she wants all of our trees gone so she can sleep without dreaming of all those pesky autumn leaves scurrying across her living-astroturf. Doesn't mother nature know how she bothers Flo?
We live in a regular neighborhood but behind the fence in our backyard there are some duplexes. That is where our neighbor Bull lives. He hangs drywall and trains dogs and restores cars in his spare time. He has tattoos on his face and a pitbull. He and his buddies like to set up spotlights and work on cars until the wee hours of the night. He is actually like a home security system for us.
He asked me about buying my old Pontiac. I told him I was open to offers. He wanted me to know that if he bought the car that he wouldn't keep it stock. He would customize it. I said it is hard to keep old cars original. One of the first things I did was throw on a 4-barrel Edelbrock. Bull said, "No, I mean custom work like chopping the roof. Have you seen my buddy's truck over here. Me and him did that." Here is the truck:
To each his own, I guess. I can't complain. I'm the guy flying the Jolly Rodger in my front yard. One old man came by and asked if we were going to keep the flag up. When I said Yes, he said, "Well, I guess it means different things to different people."
P.S. The elementary school sucks here. It was one of the only schools in the state to fail the No Child Left Behind requirements. Our son never seems to have his homework assignments. The beer bottle is finally gone from the sidewalk but for almost a week an old car battery showed up on the main sidewalk directly in front of the school. It finally got hauled away today. I don't think any kids got into the acid, they were too busy kicking eachother in the groonies on the playground. The system works, to an extent.