Archive for August 14th, 2010

a little sad today

August 14, 2010

It has been overcast all morning long. I’ve been watching the neighbors across the street packing up to move. I feel badly because I have lived here a full year and I never got around to crossing the street to introduce myself.  I tell myself that he could have very easily crossed over to have met me (and since he was here when I arrived that would have been the neighborly thing to do) but now it is just one of those things.

My neighbor across the street has a wife and children.  As they load up their belongings I have seen what appears to be family and friends show up to help.  Moving is such a hassle.  And here it is just three weeks before school starts again.  I wonder what his family was like.  I’ve seen the kids out playing in the yard.  Seen his wife come home with the groceries.  I’ve even said “good morning” to him or “How’s it going?” as we each have left for our respective jobs, but I don’t even know his name.

It seems odd to me that they’d be moving in the middle of the month.  It couldn’t be because the rent was past due because that usually qualifies as a “midnight move-out”, slipping away with a frantic blitz of activity to avoid being detected by the landlord.  I know a lot about that.  When I was a kid my step-father frequently drank up his paycheck to the point that there was no food in the house and we couldn’t pay the bills.  I never knew from one day to the next whether we’d be at a certain local long enough to call a place “home”.   Nope.  My neighbor’s move is being done in broad daylight.

Maybe he got a promotion and has decided he wants better digs.  He could be one of those people who has won the lottery and is trying to remain low key until he relocates.  Maybe his wife’s mother is sick and they decided to move closer in order to be there for her during her time of need.  Perhaps the children have reached the age where each requires his own room and they just need a bigger place.  It is sitting here fabricating these different scenarios that has put me in the doldrums.

Even my BB has felt this way as she confides in me.  “I feel like going over and wishing them well, but I wasn’t sure how to go about doing it.”  I agreed with her.  “Yeah, it might come across like you’re glad to see them go.”  “Yes,” she says, “so sad.”  But now I reason within myself, why do we feel sad?  Maybe this move is a good thing for them.

But in reality I think I know the reason and it pains me to have to admit it.  Even with my lack of direct participation I have placed myself in line with the rest of the neighborhood’s residents.  Because I have tried to be friendly towards those on the left and right of our rented house and been met with indifference.  This is not a friendly neighborhood.  Perhaps if I had crossed the street I could have made it seem a little more so, but I waited for someone else to approach me first.  Those I have made the effort with have made it seem bothersome, like I had an ulterior motive.  As if the next time I showed up I would ask them to borrow their lawnmower or a cup of sugar or something equally invasive and annoying.  So I shrank back, too.  I turned inward.

I’ll be sorry to see my neighbor leave.  I imagine as I see their mini-van’s tailights disappear down the street and around the corner for the last time I will still ponder about where they’ll end up.  I see this as a lost potential.  Somehow deep inside I grieve a bit.  I picture myself seeing them somewhere in the future, like at the supermarket or down at the park.  Should I go up and introduce myself then?  “Hi, I’m the guy who lived across the street from you before you moved.  Sorry I didn’t catch your name before?”  No.  I wouldn’t do that.  Maybe I’d just say “good morning” or “How’s it going?”

I wouldn’t want to appear un-friendly.