Sunday, August 20, 2006

Do you neighbor?

Do you neighbor?

I remember as a kid, my parents knew our neighbors. They might not have liked them, they maybe thought they were a bit noisy, but they knew them.

The neighbors certainly knew me and my brother.

Like the time when the girl across the street, (she had the coolest basement, ever! It had a disco ball and jukebox, and we use to roller skate around on the tile floor. I thought it was so awesome.) But, when I spilt my cherry (see, bright, bright food colored dyed red) Icee all over her grandpa’s newly cemented driveway, he was certainly comfortable enough to tell me to get the hell home. In fact, I do believe those were his exact words. Yeah, he was pissed. Can’t say as I blame him. As an adult though, it does make me chuckle. I mean, I think I was all of 5-years-old how were my little hand supposed to hold onto that big, big Icee?

When I got my first bike I was six and it was on Easter Sunday. I came home from Sunday school and there it was, glistening in the sunny spring air. *ting* I can still see the sun glistening off the handlebars. It was a red, white, and blue bike. Very patriotic. In fact my roller skates were red, white, and blue, too. Hmm, I’m noticing a theme. Well, it was the 80’s.
So, back to my bike.
The seat, no, no, the banana seat, was red, white, and blue, and the tassels that hung from the handlebars were red, white, and blue and the basket to come later was white with red and blue flowers. Oh, yeah.
There I was trying to learn how to ride my bike. I’d turn the pedals a few turns and then stop, which of course meant I crashed. The whole neighborhood came out to watch me pedal and crash all. day. long. All day. Have I ever mentioned how stubborn I am? Well, I am and it showed up at a very early age. I was bound and determined to learn how to ride my spiffy new bike that day. Right then and there in front of my parents, my brother, my house, and the whole neighborhood in their swank 1980’s hairdo’s and clothes.

It seriously took me all day to learn how to not stop pedaling in order to keep my balance therefore, ensuring the momentum of the bike wouldn’t topple over on me. Finally, Darwin, the hot kid next-door who I use to spy on from my bedroom window, the one who I use to watch as he undressed without him knowing that my 6-year-old eyes were watching him, that guy? Yeah, he finally hopped on the back of my banana seat and he was my balancer. He kept the bike steady so I could pedal the bike and keep my balance at the same time. With the help of Darwin and lots and lots of stubbornness on my part, I don’t even think I took a bathroom break let alone a lunch break, but I mastered my bike. Much to the delight of my parents and the rest of the neighborhood who came out to watch me that day.

Some months later, while I was doing figure eight’s with my bike in the middle of the street at the top of a hill, right where I was in a blind spot to any and all oncoming traffic, and where a car could easily turn onto the street and kerplat me, the neighbor lady who was also my babysitter, told me that wasn’t such a good idea.
Oh, okay.
Down the hill I flew on my patriotic bike (now complete with a basket) and I did figure eight’s in the middle of the street, at the bottom of the hill. Much safer.

Some time even later, when I was riding my bike in the middle of the street (noticing a theme?) while wearing my pink corduroy bellbottom pants and showing off for the teenage boys at the end of the street only to end up with my pink corduroy bellbottom pants stuck in my bike chain. It was only when I was lying sideways in the middle of the street did the cute teenage boys see me and came to my rescue! Sadly, they couldn’t unlatch my pink bellbottom corduroy pants from my bike chain. So they did the next best thing; they carried me, still with my pant leg stuck in my bike chain, home to my mom. One boy had me in his arms the other boy had my bike in his arms. (Oh, yeah. I had those boys right where I wanted them. This was my plan all along.) *ding, dong* went the doorbell. “Oh, hi Mom.” My mom unstuck me. Moms are good at that.

As an adult when my mom and step-dad moved into their current house the next-door neighbor was a fixture. In fact he’s known as, Neighbor John. Neighbor Bill lived across the street. Neighbor John was always over. My step-dad liked that Neighbor John would just pop over and sit with my step-dad in the garage. I liked him because he referred me to my current job. I love my current job.
Then, Neighbor John moved and Neighbor Bill died.
Now, the new neighbors aren’t so neighborly.

The neighbors in my apartment building, I’d say there are probably around 40 people who live just in my building of that I know four. Now, by ‘know’ I mean I say, ‘good morning’ to them and they know my name. That’s it. Four.

Yeah, neighbors. They’re a funny thing when you’re a kid. You don’t give them much thought. As an adult I’m finding I don’t give them much thought because I don’t know them.


puerileuwaite said...

Good story, PG. The first observation that comes to my mind is how transient society has become. Oh, and let me know if you ever need a balancer again.

Bre said...

I myself can't seem to escape the nosy old lady neighbor - I've never not had one!

gone said...

The more I read from other blogs the more I am certain that we all share a common theme of development and discovery as kids. Like you, I knew all the neighbours by name on my street. Today, I know maybe 3 neighbours by name; fact is, I don't really care about knowing who lives near me.
The world is changing at the speed of electricity and so are the relationships we form with neighbours, friends and even lovers. The trick, I think, is to slow things down when good stuff is happening; not take it for granted. I find the glow of a firefly will suspend time for me on a summer night. It is then that I look about and appreciate those who are near me as I realize that beauty and love are not like pictures in a frame, but transient treasures to be held for as long as possible.

TrappedInColorado said...

PG - Really good post. You are more than sexy. You're sensitive to what goes on around you. You do not appear to take things for granted.

As to why no one wants to know their neighbors.. I don't really know. I know 6 of the 10 neighbors in my cul-de-sac. Not bad. Ofcourse, it is not all my fault that I do not know the others. They do not seem to want to know me or any of the other neighbors. That's cool. I'll still be here for them if anything should happen.

We'd be great neighbors. I could turn to you with my "WTF??!!" questions about women and you could do the same with men. Ofcourse, you may already have men figured out. :)


Pyrhonik said...

I know my neighbors well. One set live 2 miles north and the other 1 mile south. We borrow shit from each other, like lawn mowers, tools, and drink beers and pull from each other's gardens etc. I think that rural living is considerably different than urban. Especially in Canada.

Your bicycle stories are very cool!

jmeped said...

I tried to know my last neighbors and it back fired. People come with too much drama. Now I just wave and run.

AeroAangel said...

very capitvating story, girlie! but you're right, it was the same way for me as kid...i knew all my neighbors then, every person on the street we knew (except the crazy old man at the end of it that we had all "heard" had dumped some kittens into the slough in a bag), but now, in an apartment, I know NONE of my neighbors by name...and have only talked to one--a five year old that I hollered at for having banged on the window where my cat was sitting.

Yeah, him. said...

I've been here 5 years now and I have to say, most of the people who live here are stay to themselves types. I have a few that will say, "hey" or "hello", but that's it.

Party Girl said...

P: We have so much technology that makes and brings us closer, but pulls us further apart at the same time.

Bre: Oh, if I lived back where I grew-up it would be the same for me.

Cooper: Yep. Slow. We run, run, run..but to where and to what?

Trapped: Life is too short to take things for granted.

As for being an expert on men? Only a fool would admit that they are on expert when it comes to the opposit sex and I am no fool.
However, I am all for asking and answer the WTF??? questions and having the WTF, conversations.

py: the country has a whole other feel to it. I agree, having lived in the country as a teen it is easier to know your neighbors even though they live further from you. I wonder why that is.

jm: there is the other side of the noisy factor.

Aero: ok, that's funny. I do know the people beside me because their son was lost in the building.

Dan: I think it's everywhere. I think people are closer to their computers than to people/.

hmmm, I feel a post coming on....

Tom Serafini, Actor to the Stars! said...

Yeah, I did a few times. It got uncomfortable because she knew my wife and I knew her husband. She loved to be slathered in hot butter thought. I'm not really fond of the taste of butter so I secretly switched to Country Crock veggie spread. I use it to make popcorn so I always thought it was like sticking my face in a bucket of steamy hot popcorn. It was really great when she had a movie running in the background.

Party Girl said...

Meat: Man, I'm just sitting here shaking my head.


Though...what would have been really great is if you took her to the movies.

If you know what I mean.

Just sayin;.