We live in a nice neighborhood and we have a dog and a child so we go for walks. On these walks, we have the pleasure of walking past Dick and Joan's house. It's sort of like the Dick and Jane books, but if they were demons:
"See Joan throw a nutty."
"See Dick have his spirit crushed and complain about the universe."
"See Joan use inappropriate words around children."
"See Jim get in her face and eventually just try to find ways to make them both have a stroke: gleefully."
Before the boy came along, when we were new to the 'hood, we used to take the dog for a walk and Joan used to say, "I used to have a dog like that." We thought, "She's not bad."
Then, one day, the dog set foot on her lawn...just walked on it mind you -- two or three steps tops -- no peeing was involved. All of a sudden we heard an outburst. Sort of like if nails on a blackboard could come to life at 120 decibels. "Get your Goddamned dog off my lawn!" At that time, being new to the block, we just moved along.
We slowly learned from other neighbors that this is what they do. It was like the neighborhood secret -- House of 1000 Corpses minus the corpses. They hover around their front door waiting to cuss out potential offenders. The guy that lives across the street from them has a Harley. They yell whenever he starts it up. Once, there was a fire and the hydrant is located in front of their house. The fire was contained but the resultant water had washed some mulch away. They called the city and demanded to be reimbursed for the mulch and also called the water company so they could be reimbursed for the water they had to use to clean up.
They hate when people walk on their sidewalk, so they park their car so it lays across the sidewalk. In the Summer, they lay their hose across it as if it creates and unseen barrier that people cannot cross.
They have called the police on children playing ball in the street.
My favorite time of year is Fall though. It turns out that Joan is quite fussy with her leaves. I can sit on by back porch and watch the multi-colored leaves waft on the cool Autumn air to the sweet sounds of Joan. "Goddamn it, Dick! You're raking those leaves wrong! What the hell is wrong with you, you asshole!" That's pretty much verbatim. I didn't take the time to write it down, but poetry like that just sticks with you.
Once, the mood took me and I yelled out, "Shut up Joan! Abuse your husband in private. We don't need to hear it." She volleyed back, but I had had my fun. Nothing more needed to be said.
We live in an area with a lot of woods and mountains and I always think, "If he came to his senses, they would never find her body. Nobody would even care to look," and shrug. If I was him, it would be worth a late night of negotiating a dimly lit mountain path, but that's just me.
Once though, we were walking The Boy and, being twoish at the time, he tread on their grass. Joan came out and started yelling...at my son. The Wife kept walking while pulling The Boy along, but I felt the need to speak my mind.
I led off with, "Shut your yap and listen, you harpy." She quieted but that was short lived. I laid into her about yelling at my son. I realized I was getting nowhere after about a minute after I had the quick epiphany that I may as well be telling a starving wolverine to stop biting me. Instead, I figured that I needed an endgame move.
I stepped onto their lawn.
She lost her freaking mind. It was awesome. All the crap I had to hear from her and her husband was suddenly worth it. She never shut up for a second, but I no longer cared. I walked off her lawn with a parting salute. I didn't feel vindicated, but I did realize one thing.
I had a new sport.
Baiting Dick and Joan.
More on that tomorrow though...