We have what we call "the perfect couple" living across the street from us. They seem to have it all together, nay, perfect. Their yard is impecibly kept -- they mow weekly in a perfect pattern, they pick dead leaves and what-not off their lawn daily, their perfectly black-topped driveway is scrubbed with soapy water whenever a work truck tracks some dirt on it. . . They even park perfectly, both man and wife back into their parking spots -- he in the garage, she in her perfectly designanted spot on the far side of the drive.
This seeming perfection does something strange and abhorrant to me. It makes me "neighbor watch" like a bored old lady with nothing to do but check up on people. It is not like I put off my responsibilities for the sake of "neighbor watching", I just casually glance over and check out what's going on over there when I happen by the large window in our living room. Okay, sometimes I sit and watch for a while if there is nothing pressing on my schedule. This "neighbor watching" has revealed interesting things. . . I have come to find that said couple keeps their yard so perfect that they walk their two large dogs into their neighbor's yard to take "potty breaks". I was probably the first to realize that the men who put up their privacy fence were the ones responsible for taking out the cable for the entire neighborhood. And I have figured out that every Saturday, rain or shine, snow or clear skies, there is a steady stream of water coming out from near the garage on down to the street -- every Saturday I spend considerable time meditating on this stream of water, wondering exactly what is going on at the other end of that stream.
I know, it is sick, really. I even neighbor watch other neighbors. I have my kids guffawing when our immediate neighbors are out for their twice weekly mow -- how horrible am I? And right now I am chuckling to myself over another across-the-street neighbor who is greeting the quickly approaching thunder storm with his lawn mower. Seriously, the sky grew ominously gray and the winds began to howl, and he literally ran out of his garage pushing the mower for dear life. He is now in an apparent race against the storm. And I sit and watch amusedly and wonder who will win. . . man or nature?
Why, I wonder, do I sit here and "neighbor watch" like this? Is it envy or self-consciousness that spurs me on? Maybe I just have a wierd sense of humor and entertainment? And, I wonder if they are watching me back? Do they really, as I often imagine they do, watch with disgust as we let our lawn get a full five or six inches before cutting it, leave our trash can on the curb for an entire two days before bringing it in, allow our kids to bring kitchen chairs out to the front yard to assist in the climbing of trees, or leave toys out in the front yard for days on end? Someone must be watching. . . because someone very kindly brought us a new recylcling bin when they noticed we never put one out.