I guess I'm used to living in the city, where people chat a little in line at the supermarket, at a coffee shop, or maybe on the bus if they aren't both plugged into audio devices. (I'm counting Shoreline as part of the city because you can't really tell when Seattle ends and it begins.) Living in Mallwood is already very different. We've been stalked and ambushed by neighbors several times. It's like they sit around waiting, peeping out their windows until they see us and then swoop in, all fakey welcome wagon and nosy.
One such episode happened when Nala escaped the not-yet-completely-fenced yard. After managing to catch her (after running around for ten minutes), I was out of breath and painfully bent over coaxing/dragging the dog back to the house when Mrs. Nosy Parker* decended, thinking it was a great time to chat about her desire to steal the patio furnature left by the previous owner. Not happening.
This time on Creepy Suburbanites, Mom and I had just returned from a trip to buy assorted household items--bath mat, shower caddy, coffee maker--and were trying to put down our bags and greet the dogs, who were freaking out with happiness at our return. Ah, the doorbell. Meet more neighbors, this time bearing cookies and inviting themselves into our house and NOT LEAVING. Maybe we were too subtle.
Mrs. Snoopy: We rang earlier but there was no answer. When we saw your car pull up, we knew we'd catch you. [giggle maniacally]
Mr. Snoopy: Yup. Wow, the dogs are sure excited. Maybe they smell our cats. Har-har.
Me: Yes, we just got home and should take them out. They need a bathroom break.
Mom: Thanks for stopping by. We'll have to ask you back when we're more settled in. [moving toward the door]
Dogs: Bark! Bark!
Mrs. Snoopy: [cluelessly continuing] Our other neighbbors have dogs...[continue in this vein for ten or fifteen minutes]
Me: We should put these groceries away and feed the dogs. I'm sure you need to get to your dinner.
Dad: Nice to meet you, I'm sorry we have to say goodbye.
Dogs: Whine! (We want dinner!)
Mr. Snoopy (to Mrs. S.): Did you tell them about the dog book?
Mrs. Snoopy: Oh, no! It's so funny. It's called The Year of the Dog...
I sneak off to my bedroom
Ring! Ring! Ring!
Mom: Hello? Oh, hello. Oh, no! Of course I can talk..(aside to Dad: It's your Mom)
Dad: We have to go. My mother's Not Well. [opens door, practically forces the Snoopies out]
Mom: I need some coffee.
Me: [emerging from bedroom] I need some bourbon.
What the foo? I get to leave this place soon, but my parents are stuck. The neighbors all know one another's business and like to drop in on each other. That does not play with my family. We aren't company-ready at all times. I mean, I was raised to call before coming over. You never know what people are up to--they could be busy, sick, or naked at their homes. You can't just bust in on them. Serenity now!
*all names changed to protect the guilty.