Tuesday, February 26, 2008
God dumped four inches of snow last night, delicately balancing it an inch high on every branch and telephone wire. Before the rest of the house woke up I trudged out to shovel the walk, trusty blue-bladed snow shovel in hand. I was greeted by peaceful silence, the kind you only get when sounds are hushed by fresh snow. I set to work, enjoying the steady rhythm of shoveling, the muted scrape of metal on concrete followed by a soft thump as the snow lands. Sshhhhhhfft thmp. Ssssshhhhfft thmp. Sssshhhhfffft thmp. Sssshhhffffttt RRRRRRRthmpRrrrrrr. Rrrrsshhfrrrffttrrrrrrrrthrrrmprrrrrr. Snow blowers. The bane of my peaceful winter meditations.
But I'm not writing to complain about my snow blower lovin' neighbors (who also, no doubt, own leaf blowers so that they can get absolutely NO exercise working on their property). Nope, I'm here to tell you about my weird neighbors across the way. Normally I like weird. I revel in weird. But this is the creepy kind of weird.
A) When we first moved in we didn't have curtains in our bedroom. We embarrassingly realized that someone across the street was watching us when we left the lights on.
B) The mom of the house walks around the block very early every morning, doing a strange floppy thing with her hands as if it increases her metabolism.
C) Their Volvo station wagon has a Cambridge University bumper sticker on it. Aside from Berkley possibly one of the most liberal colleges in the land, you know, the one that invited the Iranian "president" to speak but bans any branch of the military to visit the campus? About a year after we moved in the son returned, presumably from college. Nope, he was returning from a year abroad in Europe. He was plump, unkempt facial and cranial hair, not too clean looking, pretty much a stereotype of the latest generation of flower children. I tried to introduce myself and was greeted with a small sneer and one of the limpest handshakes on record.
D) They have a daughter, we think. She has been seen very, very, very rarely outside the house and even then she is running (seriously) to get back in. In three years I may have seen this girl five times.
E) The strangest of all, however, is how they clear the snow from their driveway. First the back their car out and brush all the snow (and I mean ALL THE SNOW) off into the street. Then the mother and son shovel together to clear the driveway until it is spotless. SPOTLESS! And then the pull the car back into the driveway. It's not like they have a long driveway... it's probably only a yard or so longer than their car.
F) No, I'm not obsessed with watching my neighbors. These are casual observations made over three years. I'm afraid that if I actually tried to watch them I'd find even stranger things. Like The Burbs strange.
So... does anyone else have strange neighbors? Or am I your strange neighbor?