Monday, March 28, 2011
I'm having flashbacks, ya'll. Flashbacks to the movie National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. To the scenes with Todd and Margo Chester... the yuppie couple who live next door to the Griswolds. The ones who just want a peaceful quiet existence and can't seem to have a smidgeon of it because the Griswolds keep hijacking their Zen-centered tranquility. Oh sure, those scenes are hysterically funny in a voyeuristically sadistic kind of way. Unless you're poor Margo Chester, who apparently I am.
Let me take you back to yesterday. When I was attempting to sit quietly in a lounge chair by my pool enjoying the waning sunny hours of a beautiful warm Sunday afternoon. Attempting, I say, because my next door neighbors, the Griswolds, were entertaining the majority of the northern hemisphere, and their guests decided to invade my little corner of paradise.
Our home is situated on a lovely lot that has water on two sides... a long channel behind the house which sweeps around forming a small lake on one side. It's mostly private, but that was not the case yesterday. In fact, it hasn't been the case for the past several months because the Griswolds have been entertaining every Sunday and we have become accustomed to unsupervised children merging into our yard. At first it was harmless enough. Little kids with fishing poles just mindlessly inching over. But yesterday became a study in full-blown trespassing - and not just by the kids.
Imagine sitting on your lounge chair, relaxing with a glass of chardonnay and a magazine only to have your backyard assaulted by throngs of people crisscrossing back and forth. To and fro. Children, 'tweens, and adults just kind of on safari, having a wonderful time adventuring in your yard, casting fishing lines wherever they please and basically showing no respect whatsoever for boundaries or property lines. At one point, one of the fathers was walking up by the screen enclosure and almost trampled through our landscaping! It was really quite astonishing. So astonishing that my exceedingly patient husband, who was watching television inside the house, finally had enough and came out to shoo them away. Do you think they were even the slightest bit contrite or embarrassed? Nope. Not only were the interlopers not contrite or embarrassed... they were incredulous for having been interrupted. In fact, they were acting like they were entitled to squat on our land! One of the adults even tried to justify their encroachment by explaining that they were just fishing the bank as they moved around to the lake. The tone was like: dude, don't be such a buzzkill. Big mistake. At that point my husband got a little pissy and they finally left. When word got around to the Griswolds, I heard a woman (Ellen?) say, "That's just ridiculous that someone would be offended," loudly enough for me to hear. In psychological terminology, that's called projection bias. Whatever. Just fish in your own yard and keep yo asses out of ours, 'kay?
Well, in a perfect world, that would be the end of that. But naturally there were a few subsequent incidents where our yard was just too too enticing for the children to resist. One boy kept saying, "But mom! I know where the fish are, and they're over there," pointing to our bank. Which he brazenly breached without correction. Then, about a half hour later two little kids walked back into our yard. The girl looked sheepishly around and when she noticed me, ran back to the Griswold's crying, "I wanna go inside!" All I did was look at her, I swear.
So now there's like weirdness between my next door neighbors and us. Or should I say, more weirdness. In all honesty, there has always been weirdness because they're kind of weird people. Not weird bad... weird quiet. Quiet almost to a fault. Quiet almost tending toward creepiness. They rarely speak or come outside. They have two daughters I didn't even know existed for the first couple years they lived next door because they were never allowed out. But god love 'em, they're great little entertainers. And lucky us that when they decide to break loose and get un-quiet and un-neighborly, they do it up in a big way inviting all their friends to come along for the ride.
I think there's a lot of wisdom in that good old 17th century proverb: Good fences make good neighbors!
Posted by Boozy Tooth at 12:28 AM