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The Indefinite Article.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

There goes the neighborhood

Ok, so I moved into this neighborhood, right. It's a nice place, there are families around and dogs and old people. Modest houses, you know, but the kind that people take pride in.

But Brian and I aren't so much, you know, neighborly. We just want to be left alone. But today we come home to find someone has slipped a note through our mail slot. It's on duck-themed note paper. It says welcome to the neighborhood and would you like to come over on Sunday and we will invite everyone else over from this end of the block and we'll get to know each other! Love, Jean and Bob. Here's our phone number! Can't wait to meet you!

What the hell do we do now? We just want to be left alone! Call and explain this? Ignore it and become "those people"? Go when it would likely kill us (especially since one of us is going to be indisposed and unavailable)?

Advice appreciated, as always.

I remain,


  • That is a tough one. I think most neighborhoods (of that type) have a monthly block party type thing and then you can just show up at that if you want to meet everyone. It is sort of obnoxious to put you in a position where you have to explicitly tell them you are not interested in meeting the neighbors.

    By the way, I had drinks with Killy recently... so, you know what is next on the list...

    By Blogger Ethan, at 7:48 AM  

  • ... yeah, ethan and i will be moving in together later this month. we've found a really cute place i think all of you will love.

    sara: that IS a tough position to be in, but i don't think there is anything wrong with politely declining this invitation. they may invite you again, but eventually they will get the hint.


    knowing your neighbors to a certain degree is very helpful. twice last year my neighbor called me at work after noticing some suspicious things going on during the day. another alerted me to the boy peeing on my fence at 5 A.M. after sneaking out of his girlfriend's window. neither of these neighbors i know intimately, but i'm friendly with them on the rare occasion that i see them. there may be little harm in attending this first gathering - they will prolly pick up that you aren't quite the social person you are. at the very least you'll discover all sorts of funny things about your neighbors that you and brian can giggle too as you drift off to sleep.

    By Blogger Killy, at 8:25 AM  

  • i agree with killy. calling them and telling them that sunday is no good as soon as possible will let them know that you are a nice person (if antisocial) and establish some initial.

    one of the things that bugs me on a daily basis is the lack of civic mindedness in the average american. we are a selfish lot, and not really interested in all of the other humans around us. getting to know your neighbors is a small step to developing a sense of community that this country sorely needs.

    and, who knows, you may need to borrow a cup of sugar/rake/shovel, gloves, and large black heavy duty plastic bags from one of them someday.

    By Blogger todd, at 9:42 AM  

  • This is so easily solved with a little word we call "illness".
    Make your wasy down the list and eventually they'll have absolutely nothing to do you. In fact they'd be foolish not to give you a VERY wide berth.

    Neighbor: "Would you like to come over and sample this jell-o mold complete with carrot shavings?"

    You: Sorry we have...[SCABIES] and the Dr said we're contagious...so no..huh-uh...this won't be happening for a very very long time.

    You can even make up a slew of communicable diseases and take turns pulling names out of the hat...I'm having fun already! A game! A Game!
    Just keep in mind, the key word here is communicable. If you tell them you got somethin they can't catch, and they'll be on your doorstep, ladling soup down your throat, all the live-long day.

    By Blogger JP, at 9:51 AM  

  • You could always take a little pride in being one of "THOSE" people.
    Go and bring up inappropriate conversational pieces.
    On the way up here to Pagosa Liz and I were listening to Sarah Vowell's "Assassination Vacation".
    By the way the more I read your writing the more I associate you with her. Except your voice isn't AS nasal.
    You could also have Carol leave a message on their phone in Spanish, confusing them, wouldnt that be fun.
    Or if you have any friends that speak German or French.
    Either way you have a ton of options, take JP advice and have some fun.

    By Blogger taggart, at 10:39 AM  

  • sarah vowell did the voice of violet in The Incredibles, right?

    By Blogger Killy, at 10:44 AM  

  • Ethan,

    I think what's next up on your list is a back-alley fight with me. I'm all about this. Free on the 21st? I'm thinking about seeing Hayes Carll and Mando Saenz at the Continental Club. Solid artists both. And the CC has a really sketchy backyard area where we can rumble. Killy's invited, too as are wives and pets.

    Killy and Todd,

    I do agree that community is good and there is worth to knowing your neighbors. I just wish I hadn't been placed in this situation where I am put in a position where I have to call them to tell them we can't do this. I would have preferred a nice note saying, "come by anytime!" or "here's some cookies" or "don't mind our dog that barks at 1 a.m.! He's really friendly!"

    I don't think Brian and I are selfish, I just think we're socially awkward and would prefer to keep to ourselves because we're wieners. That's all. We're just wieners.


    I don't have any idea who you are, but I love the way you think.


    I loooove Sarah Vowell. She would hate that I just used so many 'o's to express my loooove. Partly-Cloudy Patriot is one of my favorite books. I'm glad something about me reminds you of her and it's not the voice.


    Turns out the invite came from the people who had parked their cars in our driveway for months before it became our driveway. So I've already met the guy, who seemed largely unfriendly, so I'm confused about this overture. I'm sure it's his wife's idea. Since Brian will be away at school most of this weekend (news: he's starting a master's of library science degree...because I guess one master's degree isn't enough), I'm going to go over on Saturday morning and introduce myself and apologize for not being available on Sunday. I think that will engender neighborly love and get me out of a big "block party" deal.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:06 PM  

  • Sorry Killy, that was an alley fight with Sara reference.

    Speaking of shows at the Continental... an awesome band from Philly called Marah is playing there Wednesday. They took a strange turn for a few years and put out some real snoozers, but they seem to be back on track. And their live shows are usually great.

    By Blogger Ethan, at 4:50 PM  

  • Yeah, I would definitely go meet them -- you never know when you might need to ask these people for an unexpected favor -- a jump for your car, to borrow a ladder to rescue your cat stuck in a tree, etc.

    It's a pain in the neck, but it may come in handy later on ... bring a case of beer or a bottle of wine 'cuz there's nothing like booze to help break the ice!

    By Blogger Amber Freda's, at 11:10 AM  

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