July 07, 2005

There Goes The Neighborhood

There are a few ways in which Beth and I are polar opposites. I guess that's to be expected. To be exactly alike would be, well, really really creepy. Like, Beth's great with money while I practically throw cash at passers-by and give 25% tips at restaurants. I'm extremely passionate about music and Beth, well, Beth really wouldn't care about the differences between The White Stripes and Whitesnake. Similiarly, I'm very aware of my surroundings, the comings and goings of people in my neighborhood, who drives what car, who's home during the day...that kind of stuff. I'm just hyper-aware. Yet Beth? Well, I think Beth would admit that she's pretty much oblivious to things like this. But she's really missing out. We have some interesting neighbors. And I could tell you damn near anything about them...except their names...

Timmy/Phillip. Timmy mows our grass. His name is really Phillip but he looks so tiny and helpless that we refer to him as Timmy. As in Lassie, go find Timmy. He might have fallen in the well again. Its tough to remember to actually call him Phillip to his face. Timmy is approximately one and a half feet tall. The lawnmower is around 12 feet tall. Watching Timmy mow is, to say the least, very interesting. Don't get me wrong - he gets the job done well. He just looks a little helpless in that please sir, might I have more sort of way.

Jillian. As far as I know, and aside from Timmy/Phillip, Jillian is the only neighbor whose name I actually know. In addition to Jillian are The Little Jillians - her eight and twelve year old daughters. Watching the 12 year old is scary. She has an attitude problem which I'm starting to realize is actually normal for a 12 year-old girl. Boy am I in trouble in 12 years. Oh, there's also Guy Jillian's Banging. He stays overnight on occasion and can be seen leaving early Sunday mornings.

The Devout Korean Household. Our next door neighbors are tough nuts to crack. The owner of the house is Devout Korean Lady. Its unclear what she does for a living but she pulls in with an excellent selection of contemporary Christian music blaring every evening. You hear a rocking song about Jesus in our neighborhood, you can bet she's just around the corner. Anti-Social Vet rents the basement from her. She drives a big-ass pickup and can usually be spotted wearing scrubs with a stethoscope around her neck. She's frequently seen smuggling her boyfriend out the basement door in what looks like an attempt to conceal her illicit, sinful affair from Devout Korean Lady. Displaced Lovestruck Arizonian also lives in the house. Sundays are marked by daring public displays of affection during which the red-head makes out with her boyfriend before he has to go back to wherever it is he goes during the week. There seems to be a lot of crying as well.

Howsitgoing Phil. Howsitgoing Phil lives down the street. I've never been 100% convinced that his name is actually Phil. So, when I run into him, I typically refer to him as Howsitgoing. As in Hey, Howsitgoing. Howsitgoing Phil is the most intrepid griller I have ever encountered. Every night the man grills a steak. It could be 10 below zero with two feet of snow on the ground yet Howsitgoing will be decked out in full winter survival gear grilling up a steak. That's dedication.

The Springer Family. If there was ever a family tailor-made for the Jerry Springer Show, this is it. Shouting matches are frequent. High speed car escapes worthy of Steve McQueen are common. As is the launching of throwable objects at said cars while escapes are in progress. There are two Springer children for whom I feel exceptionally sorry. Its not their fault they have miserable parents. Yet, its not boring. Like the time Mrs. Springer threw herself through the front door of their house. Good times. Mrs. Springer isn't a real petite woman and that door when down as if made of tissue paper.

Closet Smoker and The Little Drummer Boy. Closet Smoker is a single mom of two kids. She's only seen smoking at night, outside. Her son, The Little Drummer Boy, got a drum set last year. He practices quite a bit and is getting better as the days roll by. Closet Smoker is occasionally joined by Morbidly Obese Lover, at least, I'm assuming they're knockin' boots behind closed doors. Morbidly Obese Lover seems like a nice guy however it takes him about five minutes to get out of his car...simply because he's so, well, large. I don't mean to sound cruel, but its quite a production.

Scorned Southern Mom. Scorned Southern Mom has three kids. Her ex takes them once every couple of weeks however its clear he's not her favorite person. She doesn't let him come within ten feet of the house - he's forced to stand on the far side of the sidewalk and shout if he wants to speak to her. Whatever he did, he fucked up bad.

Bike Fuck. Ok, so, before we bought the house and were living in our last apartment, there was this dude who drove a monsterous pickup with a 2,954 cylinder engine. It was loud (having a Hemi sounds cool unless you're the person living next to the guy with a Hemi). Anyway, he'd just sit there and idle while his truck sounded like he was leading the Battle of the Bulge. We dubbed him Truck Fuck. Now, there's a guy in our neighborhood who just bought a motorcycle. He starts it and hits the gas over and over and over again. Usually about 10:00 in the evening. So, he shall forever be known as Bike Fuck.

The lesson here? Well, I guess I should start trying to learn names. I mean, I seem to know everything else about these people.

Posted by Chris at July 7, 2005 07:52 AM

I could talk at considerable length about the differences between the White Stripes and Whitesnake, although mainly based on hair and outfits.

Posted by: Mrs. Cactus at July 7, 2005 09:14 AM

ah neighbors - we have "Firecracker Man" (not limited to the holidays!), "Slow David," "Scary Ray," "Mother Hen" (donna) and "Faux Gangstas." Makes the neighborhood much more interesting...

Posted by: carrster at July 7, 2005 09:25 AM

and when it comes right down to it, it's the hair and outfits that really count, anyway. have we learned nothing from n'sync and that other bad with the boys?

i'm right there with you throwing money at passers by, and tipping outrageously. the other day i gave this guy all my change simply because he was begging for pennies. Specifically pennies. For art supplies. Despite the booze on his breath, I thought that was cute.

Posted by: jodi at July 7, 2005 09:28 AM

dude, i am totally the same way. i love people watching and am quite aware of others and what they do, etc. i can know all these little details about people.... yet i couldn't tell you what their name is. nor could i say i've ever met them or introduced myself. i just like watching (ew, that sounds really dirty...); i think that's why i've always secretly wanted to be a spy. :)

Posted by: Judy at July 7, 2005 09:30 AM

I have a Truck Fuck across the street from me. He's 19 or so and, especially on weekends, he'll sit outside at 10, 11, midnight, whatever, and just rev up his engine. Like it's cool or something. Luckily the police around here are pretty hardcore and they come around every weekend night without even being asked 'cause they know sooner or later they'll get called to come out.

Posted by: RockStar Mommy at July 7, 2005 09:37 AM

Man, I don't have nearly as interesting neighbors, mostly normal really, the only irritating one is the woman who is such a stickler for county ordinance that she walks off her yard to make sure she mows not an inch more than necessary. Nor does she give out Halloween candy before 6:30pm, because trick-r-treating is from 6:30-8:30pm, St. Louis County says so. Freak.

Posted by: A.K. at July 7, 2005 09:42 AM

Oh WOW! You guys are like my own Bizarro Jef and wife! Too creepy!


Posted by: Jef at July 7, 2005 09:45 AM

What a exciting neighbourhood! And what a great story - I find it incredibly interesting that the majority of us live in cities, in neighbourhoods, but we don't even know who lives next to us. I think it's very telling of our current culture.

Sociology aside, at our last apartment we had a Springer family next door, too. Fights occured just about every night, things being thrown and smashed, quick car escapes, adults screaming at children, children screaming at adults, cops showing up repeatedly. Not a good way to grow up, certainly. For a few months we even had Drunk Guy living across the street.

He would come home around 11 or midnight, stumble out of his truck with beer in hand (Open Container Law, what?) and somehow manage to find his way inside. One day he came home in the afternoon smashed, and a gal was with him who helped him "walk" into his house. I don't know why she didn't drive for him.

I realised then that you never know who you're sharing the road with.

Posted by: Anne at July 7, 2005 09:50 AM

At least your neighbours are interesting. Ours are terribly boring. Or is that us that's boring? Probably :)

Posted by: DaFFy at July 7, 2005 09:57 AM

In our neighborhood, which is quasi-rural and isolated to begin with, there's a house waaaay back in the woods that we're pretty sure is harboring something out of the X-Files. Nobody has ever seen the wife/mother, YET there are kids, so the theory is that they're keeping the mother in a box under a bed.

Posted by: Amanda at July 7, 2005 10:02 AM

People watching is the best! I do that all the time at lunch...the best is at this restaurant called the R&S Diner...OMG..the best is the watching the old people trying to park their cars(my personal favourite is the handicapped Escalade) and watching them get out-it takes like 5 hours. What's even more fun is watching them leave and trying to guess who is driving-Is it Blind Grandma with the HUGE black full face sunglasses?(like the ones you get when you leave the optomotrist)or Grouchy McShuffles with the walker who scoots down to the cash registerto pay. It's the best!

Posted by: Michelle at July 7, 2005 10:04 AM

ah yes, the joy of neighbors... we have the poodle people, the ranch people, Neighbor Bob (tm), the rude people and the people who think their yard looks good when it really doesn't (tm).

then there's Rick, Julie and Coleman (their real names). luckily we're moving soon so we'll get new meat to label, i mean, new people to meet.

Posted by: monique at July 7, 2005 10:06 AM

I know the name of a good realtor that can find you ANOTHER house ... Jesus! Once I got done with THOSE people, they would hate me. At least you are nice and just gave them the names. I would call them those names to their face.

Posted by: Kymmie at July 7, 2005 10:18 AM

Neighbors are great fodder for writing! We have some strange ones too and dont know many of their names. We have The Mole People, Crotchedy Mrs. Fusco, the three gay guys, Meatball, the fake disabled guy, the born again Christians, and right next to us is a revolving door of tenants in a half a double...

Posted by: Lisa at July 7, 2005 10:21 AM

Awesome post! I might steal your idea some day and do a post about my neighbors. This will undoubtedly convince everyone I actually live in an asylum.

Posted by: That Girl at July 7, 2005 10:23 AM

My parents live next to a house that apparently only lutherans can own. When they moved in 18 years ago we knew the names of the owners (Bill and Marilyn) they were like a second set of parents to this far from troubled teen. Since then two more families have come to own the house and we just call them "the Lutherans". My dad pretends to know their names...

Posted by: SueBec at July 7, 2005 10:28 AM

I am one of those who doesn't really know the neighbors - I mean, I know the guy across the street, he's very old and goes to my church - and then next door there's the hermit lady. I've only seen her once, when I nearly ran over her - she was standing in the middle of the road to check her mail. Sometimes I wonder if I should call the police to check on her or something.

Great roundup, Chris! You really do keep your eyes open.

Posted by: samantha at July 7, 2005 10:56 AM

The only thing I can say about our neighbors is that they all suck (kids skateboarding on the sidewalk that runs directly in front of our living room and bedroom at 10:00 at night, their dogs running around the block unleashed, the old guy who does a lap of the block taking notes on variuos infractions to report to the Homeowner's Association, etc.). My goal in life is to live as far away from others as is humanly possible in California. The house we're moving into with its gigantic yard is a good start. We begin construction on the moat as soon as we move in.

Posted by: Jason at July 7, 2005 11:00 AM

with me, it's not that i'm oblivious. i pick up on a lot i think. i just choose to not acknowledge any of it because it is my life goal to not ever get to really know any of my neighbors. it's part of my 'live like a hermit even though i still have to work and, you know, go out once in a while' plan. i'm nice and friendly at work and with my friends of course, but when i get home, i just want to shut my door and do my own thing. getting chummy with the neighbors would interfere with that. i am so not about the pop-in. :D

ok. now that i've come off as the most anti-social person you'll ever meet, i'll be going back into my cave. later!

Posted by: pea at July 7, 2005 11:10 AM

These are the kinds of posts that would make me go to the ends of the earth if I had too..just to read here.


And you now have me looking at my neighbors/neighborhood in a TOTALLY different light.


Posted by: jen at July 7, 2005 11:13 AM

You throw in Hannibal Lector, who lives across the street, it sounds like my neighbourhood.

Posted by: Grace at July 7, 2005 11:32 AM

We've got a Bike Fuck across the street from us.

We also have the Margarita Firecracker Family too. They have family parties all the time and blast margarita music in their front yard. And they LOOOVVVEEE fireworks.

Christmas eve at midnight? Fireworks. Halloween? Fireworks. Valentine's Day? Fireworks. And for 4th of July they popped those damn fireworks from 10pm till 4am. And they popped the rest the night after. I think the cops are tired of going to their house to tell them to 'Keep it down.'

Posted by: kitty at July 7, 2005 11:47 AM

why would you go and do that... it might give you "knowers" remorse and I speak from experience. Their real names are never as entertaining as the ones you give them. Nor as appropriate :)

Posted by: stinkerbell at July 7, 2005 12:00 PM

Don't you wonder what they'd write about you? Heh.

I hate to say this, but while my older sister was still living with us, we probably were the Springer family of our neighborhood. Things calmed down after she moved out though.

Posted by: Spring at July 7, 2005 12:39 PM

I too am overly aware. I know cars and neighbors and people. My husband, Captain Oblivious.

Posted by: Jazzy at July 7, 2005 12:55 PM

ahaha, i do the same thing in our condo. ah ahem

The crack heads
The crack heads with the child
The truck boy family
The Cat man
The guy that hits on me
The guy that hits on you
The woman with the rough life face

There are 56 units in my condo, i could keep going

Posted by: Krista at July 7, 2005 01:01 PM

I forgot the neighbors we actually like and hang out with! (see? boring!) They're the "cool couple" and sadly their pit bull Ophelia just died. :-( I loved the vicious looking dog and the delicate name.

Posted by: carrster at July 7, 2005 01:24 PM

Interesting people your neighboors. I guess I'd be the oblivious one between my hub and I. I just moved 3 weeks ago and don't know anyone yet. I wonder what my neighboors would call us. I guess right now I'd be something like the "absent exhibitionist". I haven't been around much, and I have no shades in my windows yet. Luckily there's no house right in front of mine and the curtains will finally be installed this weekend.

Posted by: ava at July 7, 2005 01:28 PM

I love your writing. A year ago my husband and I (well, really I was the one in charge) had our first daughter. You are in for a wonderful, wild, exhausting, side splittingly funny ride.
In my neighborhood we have:

The shameless gossip, with racist leanings but she's "not prejudiced or anything."

The huskey neglecters and disjointed and uncomfortable meshed family (one widower, one divorcee and about 9 kids between them)

I believe I am the token democrat and the shameful working mother who occasionally comes home too late on a Friday night. My husband is the cookie man and obsessive compulsive lawn guy which his really quite pedestrian in our neck of the woods.

Posted by: meghan at July 7, 2005 01:56 PM

Well in my apartment building I know exactly 0 people. I know stuff about exactly 2 people. #1 Butch, she is a lesbian (hence butch) has a dog, and is a very light sleeper. She has woken many a morning yelling at me, and our other neighbors to be quiet because she's trying to sleep. The best was when the young black guy who screamed back at her "well get yo ass to sleep then ya stupid bitch." Good times. #2 is Old Creepy Lady, she takes her shoes off in the hall. She has a dog (small and white) that yaps like it's possessed by the devil. She sometimes puts her plants in the hallway by her door? I don't understand but like you walk into the hall and there is a ficus(sp?) tree by her door. It's really strange, I try to avoid all contact with her, because she's always carrying the devil dog around in a blanket.

I miss Springer Family neighbors... those are the best!

Posted by: Mary Jo at July 7, 2005 02:11 PM

You made these people up, right? They sound like your garden variety Sims, and I'm a little scared to think that they might be real.

Posted by: Fraulein N at July 7, 2005 02:27 PM

I only recently moved out of the house where I was conceived, born, and raised in. There were no neighbors I didn't know or baby/dog/house sit for. My new neighborhood? Well, I heard the neighbor tell his kid to drink out of the toilet the other day... its a lot different, to say the least.

Posted by: bmh at July 7, 2005 02:37 PM

Ooh i have a truck fuck neighbor if he is even a neighbor. only rather then reving the engine he parks with his boat trailer directly infront of the mailboxes in a red zone and usually is blocking at least one car from pulling out of their spot. i've never seen the owner of said truck but i've been very tempted to call and have it towed.

great read... as always. ;)

Posted by: angel at July 7, 2005 02:58 PM

I didn't realize until I moved into my place that downtown Ft. Worth is basically full of Bike Fucks. Luckily, my windows are good, I'm on a fairly high floor, and I face away from downtown. But being out on the street in the evenings? Tends to be annoying as hell.

Posted by: Kerry at July 7, 2005 03:04 PM

I am a people watcher also. I love to watch and see what is going on and for the record I have some very strange neighbors. We recently aquired a family with 4 boys that like stand in the street and see who can drop the F bomb the most times in one second. My son(4yo) thinks I should tell their mom on them, good idea son she only weighs 600 pounds.

Posted by: Beanhead at July 7, 2005 03:23 PM

I have the "neighbours who hate me for no apparent reason", the "Chinese family in the house that resembles a clown car" (no one is really sure how many people actually live there), the "White Trash Family", complete with dirt bikes, el Caminos and cars-on-blocks, and my personal favourite "The chainsmoker who sings opera"

Apparently I'm known as "Maggie's mum" or "the girl who is never home and hires people to walk her dog"

Posted by: Kathryn at July 7, 2005 03:36 PM

I get this image of you, camera at the ready, standing at a curtained window, with binoculars up to your eyes. A little like me... mebbe. My husband knows the names of our neighbors; me, I have to give them nicknames, too. There's Bike Mom w/Kiddie Cart and next door is Bike Mom w/kids on bikes. Then we have Music Thumpers - the daughter's boyfriend isn't allowed in the house, so when he drops off the daughter, they spend 30 minutes saying goodbye while the music thumps heavily on bass. And on and on it goes.

Posted by: etherian at July 7, 2005 05:12 PM

My neighbors play banjo music. I win.

Posted by: Julie at July 7, 2005 05:13 PM

i don't pay that much attention to my neighbors...and we share an apartment building! i'm kind of scared to know what they are really like. i've never even talked to any of them outside of "thanks" when they hold the door open while i'm carrying two overflowing baskets of laundry. eh.

Posted by: tiffanie at July 7, 2005 05:19 PM

I grew up in the country, so we didn't have the variety of neighbors,... yet so many of your descriptions seem to fit. For example, my dad is Mr. Springer, my cousin (across the road) is Truck Fuck (and believe me, he's good at it!) and my mom is Devout Korean Lady,... only without the Korean. Although she's now kinda Scorned Southern Mom,... and I suppose I was Closet Smoker.

In the case of my cousin, I WISH I didn't know his name!

Posted by: Heather at July 7, 2005 05:33 PM

damn! I couldn't tell you anything about any of my neighbors except that they're OLD!!

And how do you put up with Christian music blaring every evening? That would be like complete torture to me!!

Posted by: Dawn (webmiztris) at July 7, 2005 05:48 PM

"Whatever he did, he fucked up bad."

I don't know what it is about the way you said that, but i almost spit out my, well my spit since I wasn't actually drinking anything.

it's so comforting to know that i'm not the only nosey person out there. but you know, you're really going to need to clean up those names before the bean arrives.

Posted by: laura at July 7, 2005 07:01 PM

Our spouses are very similar! Is Beth a Scorpio?

Posted by: Jesica at July 7, 2005 08:26 PM

My boyfriend and I are very observant people as well. We knew the girls that lived down stair by the cars the drove... The JettaGirl, MustangGirl and so on. Right now we have the Hippy-down-stairs-that-will-be-moving-out and the HUGE mexican family down the ally. It's fun to people watch and know what is going on around you. At least that is our take. And we just added the Stupid PowerWasher. The neightbor across the street has just finished powerwashing his house from the bottom up. Who powerwashes from the botteom up? Thanks for the neighborhood rundown! Enjoy your weekend!

Posted by: Angela at July 7, 2005 08:55 PM

That, my dear, was a brilliant topic idea!

Posted by: Queen Of Ass at July 7, 2005 09:29 PM

Interesting neighbors you have there, or perhaps it's that you see them in an interesting way :-)

Posted by: Nina at July 7, 2005 11:52 PM

and what would the neighbors call you and the Mrs...and bean?

Posted by: beautiful face at July 8, 2005 01:25 AM

I'm on the late train today, #47ish in line...you sure have a following don't ya? Yes, I know you have been through that already. Anyway, today's (tonight's) post was quite enjoyable...I really liked reading about your interesting neighbors.

Posted by: Kate at July 8, 2005 01:28 AM

Ooh, it's like one of those find yourself in this picture games. Our household would be a combination of Displaced Lovestruck Arizonian (with less crying) and Bike Fuck. The Little Drummer Boy lives next door. The Springer's live across the street with their family pet, Small Dog With Big Abandonment Issues, or as we like to call him, Shut! The Hell! Up! Most of the rest of the neighbors are also Bike Fucks, so at least we only annoy each other. :)

Posted by: Michelle at July 8, 2005 07:40 AM

But... but... whatever happened to Creepy Landscaping Guy?

Posted by: mindy at July 8, 2005 06:55 PM

I'm sorry, but I will forever picture Timmy as Squeak/Little Bitch from Baseketball.

Posted by: mindy at July 8, 2005 07:03 PM

you crack me up!!!

"Mrs. Springer isn't a real petite woman and that door when down as if made of tissue paper."

ooh ooh ooh! i finally found a typo in one of your journals!!! *is proud of self*

Posted by: alanna at July 10, 2005 02:41 AM


Posted by: young black at July 18, 2005 12:14 AM