Today, the neighbors who live in the house immediately to our right are moving away. Seeing them move has reminded me of a tale that I've wanted to tell you all. A tale that could have happened to anyone.
Oh, who am I kidding. This would only happen to me.
Last year, the neighbor who lived in the house immediately to our left moved away. I didn't really know him very well. We'd exchange a few courtesy waves as I'd pull in and out of the driveway, but that was pretty much it. I must admit, I am not a very neighborly person. I know, I know. It's awful. But since I work a lot, I like to spend my time at home with my family. And if I'm not spending time with my family, I like to be alone. It's very Greta Garbo-esque of me, I know, but it's true. So I'm not big on neighborhood get-togethers, or talking over the backyard fence, or socializing in the front driveway or whatever neighborly people are supposed to do with each other.
Anyway, this neighbor to our left moved away very suddenly. Scott, who is much more neighborly than me, told me he was transferred for work, and that he'd had to uproot immediately and just go. Being unneighborly, I just shrugged and went about my business.
Since he had already moved, the man hired a realtor to show the house for him. For the next few months, I would often see potential home buyers at the empty house when I'd arrive home from work. And something started to inspire me. I wonder if they will be my new neighbors, I would think while throwing out a courtesy wave to the realtor. They look like a nice family. And then I would go on thinking, You know, neighbors are a good thing. Why am I so unneighborly? And then I would become convicted. Well, it stops right here. I am going to get to know the next neighbors we have. We are going to be friends. We will have barbecues and play yahtzee and get each others mail when we go on vacation. By God, I will not be anti-social any longer! I will be neighborly if it kills me!
Pretty soon, a sold sign appeared in the front lawn of the house. And not long after that, right as I was about to leave for work one morning, a moving truck pulled up. As I backed my minivan out of the driveway, I thought to myself, Now remember. I am going to get to know these new neighbors. I will bring a casserole over tonight! Well, maybe not a casserole, that's hard. I will bring brownies over tonight!
And then, as if I'd wished it on myself, I saw a man running across the yard towards my idling minivan. Here we go, I thought. It's game time.
I rolled down my window and said "Hello!" And he was as friendly as could be. "Hey there!" he said. And then, "I was wondering if I could put my garbage can in your driveway today, since the moving truck will be blocking mine all day."
And I said "Oh, sure!" Because as I just told you, I was now a neighborly person. And then I said, with a big smile on my face, "And welcome to the neighborhood!"
And he said, "Oh. Um. I'm actually your old neighbor. I'm just moving the rest of my stuff out today."
Whoops. So much for me being neighborly.