We’ve slowly been meeting our neighbors. Just in case the Welcome Wagon is a real thing, I’ve kept the front part of my house obsessively clean should a stereotypically hyper-friendly neighbor stop by with a basket of coupons. So far, no one has rang the doorbell. To be fair, there is nothing IN the front part of the house, so it’s not really hard to keep it clean. Also, someone could have come by but the doorbell doesn’t work and we haven’t fixed it because Mike and I can’t agree on the new ring. Mike wants a “traditional” ring sound, and I want “Tubthumping” by Chumbawumba. I think it would be great to greet our guests with a musical ear-worm from the late 90s, but Mike has no vision. So, all visitors must knock. Lame.
What was I talking about? Oh yes, so we’ve been meeting the neighbors. Mike has met a lot of them, because he actually leaves the house. I try not to leave because then I have to put on undergarments, and I find them binding. But like all hermits, we must eventually leave the house to get our toenails cut or for other non-deliverable necessities, and that is when I run into the other residents on the street.
The neighbors to our left were on a month-long trip to Asia when we moved in. We were on our way to a delicious Mexican food dinner when they pulled into their driveway. The mom and kids went into the house while the dad came over to talk to us. At first I was like, “Yay, we’re making friends!” But Mike and Leftie Neighbor kept chatting and chatting, and I started doing the Burrito Dance. It’s similar to a toddler doing the potty dance, but with more stomach holding and Spanish word-dropping. So when Leftie Neighbor asked if we had moved from West LA and I replied, “Sí, we did!” while patting my stomach, Mike knew it was time to put a burrito in my tank.
The neighbors to our right are an old couple. I love me some self-sufficient old people so finding out I had two as neighbors was a jackpot. We’d heard stories…OK, MIKE heard stories that they were retired Hollywood types who’d worked with the likes of Judy Garland and The Osmonds. Are you kidding me? Like they weren’t already automatically awesome by virtue of being old, you’re telling me that they touched Dorothy Gale? That was almost enough to make me put on a bra and ring their doorbell.
I’d just jumped in the car to buy Annie’s kiddie pool when I saw them. The man was getting the mail and the wife was pushing her walker in the garage. The man saw me and called out, “Are you Heather’s Mother?” Thinking I’d misheard him, I turned off the car and hopped out. “Come again?” I said, using old-fashioned manners. “Are you Heather’s Mother?” the man repeated.
I…was not sure how to respond. Sure, my sundress looked vaguely mumu in origin, I was wearing glasses, and my inch-long roots were pulled into a bun on the top of my head, but I didn’t think I looked old enough to be MY OWN MOTHER. I was at a crossroads: Did I correct the man and risk embarrassing him, or live the rest of his life pretending I’m my mom? I got a burst of decisiveness, “Actually, I’m Heather!”
The old man didn’t miss a beat. “Oh great! Well, I’m Jack, and this is Kit. Put us together when you’re cold and you have a Jacket! Now you’ll never forget our names.”
In my head, I immediately forgave him for thinking I was in my sixties, because that. was. adorable.
We stood there chatting on the sidewalk for a few minutes. He was telling me all about the town and I finally volunteered, “I actually grew up in NP, not far from here.”
“OH! Did you go to NPHS? We have a niece that went there, you probably know her, she’s about your age, graduated in 1984.”
I was not at a crossroads this time.
“Well, I graduated in 1997, so I might not know her.”
“What’s that?” Jack suddenly couldn’t hear me.
“She says she’s younger than our niece, Jack!” Kit yelled from the garage. I liked her style.
“Ah! Well! That’s wonderful. We’ll let you go back to wherever you were going. Have a nice day, dear. And don’t forget to call Jacket if you need anything!”
Jack gave me the burrito-brush-off, but it was OK. I had to make a 911-call to my hairstylist to get my roots done.