Tuesday, June 13, 2006

It's a little embarassing to admit that we've lived in our current house for either 2 or 3 years (can't remember whether we moved in April of '03 or '04) and the only people we had ever met were:

-the couple next door who have 5 cars
-the single guy next door, other side
-the couple across the street
-1/2 of the couple behind our house to the left and their twins girls
-my 2 other coworkers who live in our neighborhood and their families, who don't really count because I already knew them
-the nice lady from a block down with the boy scouts who sell popcorn
-every neighborhood dog

Of these, we really only talk to the car-crazy guys next door and the 1/2 couple behind and to our left. Of them, the only ones who have actually ever been over for dinner, or even a beer in the driveway, are the guys next door.

It's shameful. There are reasons, though.

For one thing, I travel a lot, so I don't have a lot of opportunity to see people. SNG is fairly reserved, too, so he's unlikely to strike up conversation with neighbors wandering past our house on a walk. Which they don't do anyway, since we live in a cul-de-sac. To make matters worse, although I am not generally a shy person, I've never been very comfortable with introducing myself to my neighbors anywhere I've lived. It's a bit painful trying to talk to a new neighbor without making an idiot of myself. I have a tendency to say things that I later realize may have come off as goofy.

We did try to meet people the first summer we lived here. There was a neighborhood 4th of July get-together in one of the cul de sacs and we went. We made small talk with the 2 people we knew, stared at our shoes, stared up in the trees at the birds, and went home. There have been no block parties since (that we know of).

So 2 weeks ago, much to my delight, I found a flyer in my mailbox saying that the ladies of the neighborhood would be meeting out in one of the cul-de-sacs to drink wine every Monday night throughout June, and maybe beyond. Last week was the first installment of Wine Time. I grabbed a fresh Pellegrino from the fridge, threw a folding chair over my shoulder and went.

It was kind of awkward, since everyone knew everyone else, and I was the newbie, but there's no reason I should be a newbie as our "new neighbor" status has long since expired. Really I should have met people sooner. So I went to Wine Time and fortunately, one person had brought a huge pile of craft-project-stuff she wanted help with, so I mindlessly cut out laminated bits of paper and listened to/laughed at other people's stories while keeping my hands busy.

Last night was the 2nd installment. There were some different people there, some of whom were people I've wanted to meet for a long time but never had the chance. Like the other 1/2 of our neighbors behind and to the left. Why was I too shy to introduce myself sooner? I liked her a lot and we also like her husband and their cute twin girls.

Anyway, it's been really fun to finally meet more people and feel less like an outsider in my own front yard. We've got a long way until we are on chatting terms with nearly everyone, and I won't remember people's names for at least another month (with my terrible memory for first names) but it's a start.

Are we the only people who seem to have this difficulty meeting neighbors?


SNG said...

I've been meaning to ask you what your name was...

PartnerInCrime said...

We know a few neighbors. The single mom across the street is very cool, and once helped me break into our house when I had gotten locked out. A lady down the street has a pet-sitting business and takes care of our critters whenever we go out of town.
Other than that, I've met the wife part of the couple next door once, when she came over to make sure that a cat she found in her house wasn't ours. (It wasn't.)
And I've had some harsh words with a lady down the street who lets her dog run loose. The dog is sweet with humans, but she likes to terrorize our cats. (She's also dog-aggressive and tried to beat up on Lucky when she was living with us.) I think the last time we spoke, I told her that if she didn't keep her dog out of my yard, I was going to call animal control. Not exactly your ideal friendly-neighbor experience. :)

Katrin said...

The first time Jim and I met our former neighbor, she was dressed in a Snow White costume (all ~200 lbs of her!), and staggering around her front yard. She was also extemely concerned that we were in danger of falling into the 1 foot-deep ditch next to her hedge. I guess I can understnad her...it was Mardi Gras :)
Now we have rabbits, horses, donkeys, and cows as neighbors. I try to be friendly but I don't think they're interested in coming over for wine and cheese...

PartnerInCrime said...

It would probably be considered rude to offer a cow a plate of cheese. The wine? You never know. I imagine that a drunk cow would make for a pretty fun neighbor.

alphagal said...

We often buy "drunken goat" cheese. I bet drunken cow's cheese isn't bad, either.

SNG said...

My humor gets a little cheesy when I'm drunk...