Monday, September 11, 2006

Life in The 'Hood

I'm in my kitchen this afternoon, minding my own business and making lunch for the kids when I suddenly hear the familiar "click" of the side gate. Knowing that Hannah, Aidan and Nadia are in the backyard playing, I'm understandably alarmed. Before I even have a chance to go outside myself, a face appears in my kitchen window.

"Hey there, how are you today?" says my neighbor Jim like it's the most normal thing on the planet to be in my backyard and not some scene from a 20/20 documentary about child abduction.

I'm frankly so surprised to see an uninvited grown man in my backyard that it takes me a moment to stammer "hi."

"Does your husband have any metric allen wrenches?" he asks.

"Uh, I don't think so" is my reply.

The look on his face says two things: one, he wants me to check which I refuse to do and 2, if I won't check he at least wants me to call Brad and ask him and I won't do that either.

"Well, alright then. Thanks." And off he goes, back out through the side gate.

This is bizarre to me on several levels. First, I have a front door, on the front of my house, which is used by visitors all the time. Second, I also have a phone, which he knows firsthand because he has had to use it on several occasions to track down his wayward wife since she cut off their home phone line and it's apparently never occurred to him to get another one. Third, who in the halibut goes into people's backyards unannounced? So, so weird.

I try to be kind to Jim because his life stinks. He is missing most of his teeth which makes me think that his troublesome behavior is really a result of starvation because how does one eat without teeth? And even more stressful than that, things have really taken a turn for the worse since his wife's boyfriend moved in with them. It must be hard to get a good night's sleep with three grown adults in the bed.

Really, he's not weird, just hungry and sleep deprived.

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