Neighbors and Naked Barbies

25 Apr

I like to sit on the deck looking at my garden. Some people find gardening relaxing. I’ve found that looking at the garden is actually much more relaxing than working in the garden. I particularly like to look at the garden in the morning and especially on significant days. So, it’s no surprise that Easter morning found me sitting on the step of my deck sipping a mug of hot tea while I surveyed my yard. What was surprising was the sight of three naked Barbies playing on the neighbor’s swing set, which sits just on their side of the property line.

My daughter’s Best Friend lives in the naked-Barbies-on-the-swing-set house. In fact, the naked Barbies are hers. I wasn’t so much surprised to see the Barbies as I was surprised to see them on the swing set. They had been lounging on the chaise in our gazebo for the past week or so. Saturday night we had celebrated Passover with friends of ours we seldom see. They have a daughter who is close in age to ours. When these two meet, they form that fast, frenetic bond that only children who rarely play together achieve, as if they need to pack years’ worth of activity into three hours or so. In the maelstrom of their interaction, the Barbies somehow went from the chaise lounge to the slide and whatever you call that thing that two kids swing on facing each other.

I smiled when I saw the Barbies and I knew Best Friend’s mother would smile, too. We have informally vowed to leave the area between our houses fenceless so things like naked Barbies on swing sets can happen while the children flow freely from one yard to the other.

These are the best kind of neighbors. I consider them my reward because I also live near the worst kind of neighbor. Best Friend lives directly behind us. Worst Neighbor lives next door. Worst Neighbor bought the house and moved in with his wife and son. Every couple that has lived in the house has divorced and it wasn’t long before Mrs. Worst Neighbor and their child skipped out of the country.

So now I live next door to Mr. Single Worst Neighbor. Given the current real estate market and the fact that he lives in “The Divorce House,” I’m pretty sure we’re in it for the long haul with Worst Neighbor.

Worst Neighbor, being single, neglects many things in his house, most notably his dog. I’m sure the dog was purchased to appease Mrs. Worst Neighbor but as the dog is the Worst Dog, the purchase was for naught.  We’ll call Worst Neighbor’s dog “Lucy,” because that is her name and I don’t care about protecting her privacy.

Frankly, Lucy doesn’t need privacy. She’s the neighborhood tramp. One particularly difficult day, I was pouring out my troubles in a phone call with my best friend. As we dished and drank our coffee I was beginning to chipper up, until I spied Lucy on my back deck and my own dog on Lucy. “I’ve gotta go!” I said, “Pogo’s humping the bitch from next door.” I separated the dogs and returned Lucy to her home. She was out and about soon afterward. Pogo lay whining in his cage.

In an attempt to contain his canine strumpet, Worst Neighbor installed an electric fence, but did it himself and did it wrong. Lucy continued to roam the streets, looking for love. Last year, Worst Neighbor finally had her spayed and I held out some hope for a more peaceful life for us and for Lucy. It was a dark and stormy night when my hopes were dashed. Really. It was dark and stormy. It was night. And there was Lucy, whining at my back door. I called Worst Neighbor. He asked me to hold on to her while he finished having dinner with friends. We don’t call him about Lucy anymore. We call Animal Control. Maybe Worst Neighbor and Lucy will be getting divorced soon.

Much as Worst Neighbor vexes us now, he is not the Worst Neighbor Ever. I believe that honor goes to the neighbors whose back porch rotted after years of neglect. With no safe way of getting from their back door to the garbage dumpster, they simply dropped their trash out the door into the yard where it accumulated. Eventually, of course, it attracted vermin, which were then attracted to the warmth in our house. I found them frolicking in the laundry hamper one memorable morning. Exterminators and health department officials got involved.

My husband insists even they are not the Worst Neighbors Ever. To his mind, the Worst Neighbor Ever was the woman who lived in the apartment next door to his in graduate school. Or, I should say, “women,” as the person in question clearly suffered from multiple personality disorder. Every other night, just about 2 am, she would argue with herself, screaming and railing. Eventually, she would kick herself out of the apartment, slamming the heavy metal door on herself and waking the entire building.

Sleep deprived, my husband called the landlord, who refused to believe him. Out of desperation and sleep-deprivation, my husband took to calling the landlord every time the women next door kicked themselves out. The landlord caught on eventually, answering the phone and immediately hanging up, but never evicted the woman/women. My husband moved out six months early but his middle-of-the-night phoning binge established a life-long habit of relieving pent-up frustration through creative, albeit hostile, retribution.

Lately, the Best Neighbors have been dropping hints about moving, mumbling such selfish nonsense as needing a guest room for visiting grandparents. Our declining property values have forestalled what is probably inevitable, but Mrs. Best Neighbor assures me that they are taking us with them when they move. I hope this is true. I am far too old to discover what could be worse than living next to a promiscuous pooch, a vermin farm or the local psych ward.

In the meantime, I’ll sit on my deck, survey my quarter acre of the American Dream and ponder where the naked Barbies will pop up next.

6 Responses to “Neighbors and Naked Barbies”

  1. Elaine April 25, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    This absolutely made me laugh out loud – loved it! And Best Neighbors, awww…{{blushing}}. How can we ever leave now?! We certainly won’t ever find any other neighbors who could better appreciate the comedic value of perfectly posed, naked Barbies on a swing set, that’s for sure!

    • jmlindy422 April 25, 2011 at 4:36 pm #

      Well, if we can find a neighborhood with a big enough house for you and a nice townhouse for us, then maybe we can be neighbors forever!

  2. anjobanjo22 April 25, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    This was hilarious! When we used to live in NC, I praised my neighbors. But there was this one that lived directly to the right of us that just seemed to be a bit…ummm, creepy. He was single, never talked to a single soul, and would leave for days at sparatic times during the month. Later, when he moved out, we found out that he was really unclean as well. Our new neighbor freaked out when she opened the garage for the first time to find a TON of spiders everywhere. Ick!

    • jmlindy422 April 25, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

      Actually, the people who dropped their trash out the back door also had filth in the house. We could see into their second floor hall and bathroom from a window on our staircase. There was a foot of trash, literally. You couldn’t close the bathroom door because of it. I felt so sorry for the two girls living there with their slovenly parents.

      Thanks for the nice thoughts.


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