Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Who’s the douchey neighbor?

Reason #26 not to be a douchey neighbor: chances are that one of your neighbors has a blog and will talk smack about you on the Internet. Twice.

Spring cleaning item #1: remove all Halloween decorations
Our neighbors across the street insist on keeping their Halloween pumpkin on their porch for months. Last year, they finally kicked the rotting pumpkin to curb after SIX MONTHS on March 21st. And, yes, I am aware that remembering the exact date the neighbors removed their pumpkin from their porch (without even having to look up last year’s blog post) says a lot more about me than it does about them. The irony is not lost on me. Hence, this post.

This year, the douches across the street decided to beat their record and kept the Halloween ornament on display for the whole neighborhood to see until April 13. Yep, they officially have a live, rotting pumpkin on their porch for more months of the year than they do not have a live, rotting pumpkin on their porch.

This yearly phenomenon brings many questions to my mind, such as why can’t they complete the simple task of walking a pumpkin 30 feet to the curb? Are they doing this on purpose just to annoy people? Is this some bizarre social experiment only they know about? Or are they just super lazy? Do they have some weird fascination with pumpkins? But we all know the real question here is… why do I care?

Yes, home ownership has turned me into a real Gladys Kravitz, and I’m not proud of this. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. I don’t actually spy on my neighbors, but it’s really hard not to notice a GIGANTIC pumpkin sitting directly across the street from your house for six months. And when your house is this close to other people’s houses, you really hope those other people aren’t crazy.

Plus, it bugs me when people bring down the aesthetic appeal of our neighborhood. It’s a nice, simple, middle class neighborhood in suburbia. It’s nothing fancy. There are no mansions for passersby to gawk at, but it’s cute. I like seeing all the manicured lawns and picket fences and flower boxes as I push Q's stroller down the street.

So the guy down the road who kept an 8’x8’ storage box in his driveway for a year really irritated me. And around the corner, there are three houses in a row whose front yards are permanently littered with more toys than a daycare center. And one guy pulled up is lawn several months ago, put down new soil, put chicken wire all around it… and left it like that. Seriously, plant some damn grass seed before my kid cuts himself on your ugly chicken wire fence!

I know I sound like a judgmental crazy person, and I wish I weren’t so bothered by these little things. But every time I pass by the house that leaves its trash bins by road all week every week, I feel the value of my home falling faster than a drunk sorority girl. And when you have a big-ass Silicon Valley-sized mortgage on your tiny, suburban house, that’s enough to make you lose some sleep.

So I try to focus on my 2013 theme word. Whenever I start to feel annoyed by the few residents who bring the rest of the neighborhood down, I try to remember to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe an elderly couple lives in that house with the patchy lawn, and they can’t keep up with the yard work. Maybe the family with the storage box ran out of money mid-remodel, which would be understandable in this economy. Maybe when you work seventy hours a week so you can afford your little suburban house, the last thing you care about is hauling in the garbage bins or throwing away a pumpkin. I’m trying to choose not to be so hard on people. Otherwise, the douchey neighbor would be me.

But I’m so glad that damn pumpkin is gone, I want to go to a happy dance on their porch in its place.

(I know today is Wednesday, and this post is supposed to be Not-So-Wordy, but you know how much I like my rants, and this one just couldn’t wait until Thursday.)