John and I have lived in this house for almost six years. We know the people in three houses around us by name, and of those three, we only know the last names of the people immediately next door. We say hi on the sidewalk, help them shovel snow, and occasionally chat with the kids. Six years. Pathetic and anti-social, that’s us. In our defense, everyone in this neighborhood has kids (except us, of course), so they all know each other from school and play groups and the bus stop. Paper-thin, I know. We haven’t made an effort, and honestly, we haven’t minded all that much. I’ve met a few more people who live nearby since I joined the gym six months ago, but that hasn’t lead to real relationships. Until now, possibly. Maybe. Friday afternoon, a woman I know from the gym called to invite me to play bunco with her club that night. They need 12 people, and two of their regulars couldn’t make it. “Is it a problem that I don’t know what bunco is?” “Not in the least. Bring $10.” Yeah, that doesn’t sound shady at all. Come play a game you’ve barely heard of. We’ll take your money. She said it’s easy and mindless, and the club is really just an excuse to for the members to eat, drink, chat, and maybe win a few dollars. I went. She wasn’t lying – all you have to do is count, and the rest of pure chance. I can do that. And with only $10 at stake, it’s no big deal if I lose. Which I did not do. There are twelve rounds (six winners in each round), and I won the most rounds, so I took home $40. Not a bad way to be introduced to a game. I’m certain it’ll never happen again. (This is how it starts.) I played, I met 10 new people, it was enjoyable enough, and John and I were invited to a block party the next day. That was a bit more awkward than bunco night, but shortly after we sat down at a picnic table with our food, a couple came over, said “Oh, good – faces we recognize!”, and sat down. They’re the neighbors across the street and over one house, the ones with the very friendly cat and five kids (mostly grown, all living at home). Now we know their first names (but not their last name – what is wrong with us?). Had a good time chatting with them for over an hour. So, yay. Neighbors.
There was a spider in my car today. It was crawling across the roof (upside down, on the inside of the sunroof), and I know this because I was watching it when I should have been watching the road. Spiders are not allowed in my car! Maybe I need to put up a sign. Maybe our new neighbor friends are exterminators. Except they’re not. Every single person we met was either a teacher or a government contractor. Not that those are bad things to be, but they don’t help me much when I’m trying to keep a crazed and bloodthirsty spider at bay while making a left turn. Inconsiderate of them, to say the least.