Who are your neighbors? If you ask this question, you may find that people don’t always know the names of those who live closest to them, but they still have ways of describing them. And those descriptions are universal.
Whether you live in an elegant, gated community or an apartment building with a loft, you may notice that everyone has “the nosy neighbor.” Typically, this person has a comfortable chair strategically placed by the window so they can sit there for long periods of time, pulling back the curtains to watch everything that is going on. This person thinks they are sly, but everyone in the community can clearly see them as the edge of the curtain curls back when someone walks or drives down the street, then slowly falls back into place when all movement outside of the house has stopped.
Unlike “nosy,” who likes to remain hidden to do his or her work, “the gossip” works out in the open. On most days, you will find this person casually strolling through the neighborhood, stopping multiple times to inform anyone who will listen about the “facts” on who is getting divorced, whose house is selling below value and where the daughter lives that came home with a hickey on Saturday night. They typically end the conversation with “Let’s keep this between us” before moving on.
Then you have “the free-range family,” who love to proclaim things like, “We are adamantly opposed to discipline because we believe children are ultimately self-regulating if you just stay out of their way,” and “We only mow our grass when there is a full moon so we can leave less of a carbon footprint.” They walk their dogs but refuse to clean up after them because “Poop is biodegradable,” and their children are easy to find because they never wear shoes and you have to drive around their bikes that are left in the middle of the road.
The “party animals” have cars parked in the front yard on weekends, and their porches are decorated with broken flower pots filled with dead plants and beer cans. Their guttering is usually falling off, and the curtains are really just sheets taped against the glass because they spent all of their household repair budget on custom-made speakers the size of refrigerators.
Then there is the “hot, muscle guy.” He’s the one who mows his lawn with his shirt off then stands in the front yard and pours a bottle of water over his head to cool off. Coincidentally, the women who live closest to him have the best-looking gardens in the area due to their increased desire to be outside.
There is always a “get off my lawn” neighbor. This person’s OCD makes his or her house the showpiece of the block, but vacuuming their driveway because the dust from vehicles is “too messy” can get annoying when you are still trying to take down your Christmas lights after Memorial Day.
There’s the “oh, my sweet baby would never bite,” who owns three dogs that you are convinced are rabid and want to eat your face off. Those canines can get out of their chains faster than a Vegas magician. You’re sure that one day you are going to end up on “Judge Judy” because one of them ate the tires off of your car.
The “hobby gardener,” who doesn’t even eat cucumbers but grows them and gives them to her neighbors just to “bless them” is a great neighbor to have, and so is “the handyman,” whose house looks like a dollhouse. You can find him in the wee hours of the morning firing up his saw to handcraft more wooden accessories, not just for his home, but also his neighbor’s. His deck is complete with a gazebo, a full lighting system, a three-tiered water fountain with real fish and a dumbwaiter to lower food from the upper deck to the patio. He is also the guy who comes straight over when he sees you unloading anything from the hardware store to see if you “need any help.”
Who are you in your neighborhood? Mr. Mustache? Supermodel Susan? Sister Wives? I know for a fact I have been the neighborhood “lady with the big hair,” the “who really lives in that house?” and “the lady who drives like she is drunk.” But what no one can ever call me is the “snotty lady who never waves.” No one wants to be that person.