Monday, August 23

Serious: Disturbing Neighbors and Shoe Shopping

First, the seriously disturbing neigbors. I should begin by describing my neighborhood. I live on a quiet street in Florence, Mass., part of Northampton, which has become chi-chi in the last 20-30 years. Northampton has always been a little bit cool, right back to Jonathan Edwards (no, not that one) and Sojourner Truth , and of course Smith College has always been here. But my street has largely escaped the influx of "those out-of-town vegetarians" as those of us lobbying for a domestic partnership ordinance about 10 years back were called. Our neighbors, aside from, inexplicably, being almost exclusively named Joe, have been very nice and friendly. We bought the house from the daughter of our across the street neighbors (nice Joe and Gloria), and despite the fact that we stuck it to them big-time on the purchase price, they've been wonderful to us and the kids love them. They even let us swim in their above-ground pool whenever we want.

Across the street is the republican neighbor, who tends toward crankiness and is actually not named Joe, but instead, John, but who has recently taken to giving us tomatoes instead of berating us about voting against property tax increases (sorry John).

Then there is Joe and Lucille from down the street. This is the, excuse me for being horribly politically incorrect, but this is the WT house on the block. You know, a nice collection of rusted automotive equipment, semi-annual lawn-mowing schedule, dogs barking, dentally challenged...most neighborhoods have one.

This presence of WT-ness *really* bothers the other Joes on the block, and particularly bothers John. Joe and Lucille, as it turns out, are actually brother and sister (Gloria explained this to us) and have lived in that house since childhood. Lucille has a son via adoption (I believe as a single parent), who is a young teen and has autism. John constantly accuses this kid of pulling his fence down. John is somewhat obsessed with this fence business--I'm not sure if the kid is responsible or not, since John seems somewhat irrational about the whole thing.

The other day, we were taking the kids and dogs for a walk (quite an undertaking), when Joe (WT Joe) corners Rhys in the driveway. I continued on with the kids, but it turns out that Joe wanted to tell Rhys that the neighbors (John et al) had called the health department on him and Lucille, saying that they had rats in their yard and the house was unfit for habitation. I feel pretty neutral on this issue. Based on what I hear and see, this family is hanging on by a thread, and if there's any chance they can get some social work support or even just a wake-up call through the health department coming in and writing them up, then great. But really, I don't care if their lawn is waist-high--it gives the neighbors something else to focus on when they get grumpy about lawnmowing frequency.

So last night, we're having company for dinner when WT Joe knocks on the door. He tells me it was the kid's birthday and they made a cake, and not as many people came as they expected, so he wanted to know if we wanted some. I thanked him, invited him in (he declined) and shut the door. Frankly, with the whole health department/rats thing, I wasn't so sure I wanted something from their kitchen, so we debated it around the table for a few minutes and entertained our guests with the crazy neighborhood saga.

Then it got really weird. Lucille knocked on the door a few minutes later. She said that she was cutting up the cake and she found A RAZOR BLADE in it, and she wanted to let us know because she was worried that there might be more razor blades in the cake and she wanted to warn us.

What do you say to that? Well, I said, "Wow, I'm so sorry that happened. Why don't I just give the cake back to you." She agreed immediately.

So of course we discussed this to death: was there REALLY a razor blade inside this homemade chocolate birthday cake and if so WHO THE HECK put it there and isn't that a little TOO urban legend to be true? And if there wasn't really a razor blade in the cake and she just wanted the cake back because perhaps WT Joe had given it away without her approval, wow, how crazy is that to think that it would be easier to say "hey, there's a razor blade in there, better give it back" than to say "you know, Joe didn't check with me before giving the cake away, and I had promised the kid some, yada yada, you haven't eaten it yet have you, would you mind?"

I'm not sure which one I think is more disturbing. But it doesn't make me overly excited about the WT house, and while republican John seems pretty wacky, if I had to take sides right now....

Anyway, my instinct was not to eat the cake to begin with--good evidence to listen to your instincts, huh?

As for serious shoes, I just got THREE pairs of shoes from Sierra Trading Post, including Ariat mules for $30, and Wolky sandals for $50. The other was a pair of closed-back clogs for $50. That was a big pile of money to drop in about 5 mintues, but they're going to be great, and I seriously need to go throw away a bunch of really comfy shoes that I have worn down to the soles.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

That's some seriously screwed up neighbors. You might want to put in an extra call to social services about the razor-blade laced cake.