Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

on August 28, 2007

Oh, who are the people in your neighborhood?
In your neighborhood?
In your neighborhood?
Say, who are the people in your neighborhood?
The people that you meet each day

Did you ever learn this song from Sesame Street?

There is one person in our neighborhood who if you met him walking down the street you would wonder what planet he came from. He is perfectly nice but completely odd. If he ever corners you – well – pull up a chair or a piece of sidewalk because you’ll be there awhile. His gift is to be able to talk endlessly about absolutely nothing. He has a memory like a steel trap when it comes to baseball scores or what song was playing on the radio 25 years ago on July 13th at 4:45 in the afternoon. Yet when his wife was alive he couldn’t remember that he was suppose to pick up bread at the grocery store when she told him just 5 minutes earlier. His children do love him, but I believe they have spent almost their entire lives either rolling their eyes or running to hide when they see that their father has cornered someone.

Today my mother witnessed a truck run into this neighbors fence. She talked to the driver who didn’t speak much English and she took down the license plate and took his phone number down. The driver was embarrassed over the accident and assured my mother that he would pay for the damage if she would give the owner his contact information. When my mom told me this after I arrived home from work I immediately said “oh no!” Not because of the damaged fence — but because the guy was going to have to talk to the neighbor. So I say “did you warn the guy about neighbor X? You know — that he would totally freak out for about 30 straight minutes and would probably include some arm waving?” She didn’t. She figured if he was dumb enough to hit the fence he deserved what he had coming. Then she said quietly “I don’t want to call him to tell him.” My mom is a saint — really a true saint. For her to even admit this outloud was shocking. She “girded her loins” and called. It of course took several minutes for her to explain. She finally got off the phone only to discover — who was at the door? Right — neighbor X. It’s been a half and hour I have listened to him talk at my mom. She IS a saint. She has kindly listened first to his 15 minute rant and now every other subject he can think of. I suddenly remember all the times when I would try and get out of something with a friend when I was a teenager and I’d ask my mom if I could go while mouthing the words “tell me no”. She always did — she’s just like that. So — I guess it’s my turn to rescue her.

I go through a box and find some material and call out to mom “mom when you get a second can you help me with this fabric?” It does the trick. After he leaves she helps me put the fabric away because she doesn’t want me to be a liar. That’s just the way she is.

p.s. Pippi — you are a saint too.


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