Wednesday, December 28, 2016

So ... This Happened

As you may recall, during Hurricane Matthew last fall, one of our neighbor’s trees, a rather large tree, came down, landing in our backyard and taking with it about three of our trees and a thirty foot section of fence.

Our neighbors, who we’ve met briefly—they keep to themselves—actually came over during the storm to tell us about the tree and to make sure that we knew that they’d take care of the mess ... as they should, I thought. I also thought they came over because perhaps they assumed the two homos who lived next door might be pissy queens who would be furious about the damage.

We were not those queens.

In fact, we started some cleanup of the tree the very next day after the storm passed and the neighbors—Scott and Emily—then came over to remind us that they’d take care of; we just said we wanted to get rid of what we could without a chain since, as I explained, “We are not chainsaw people.”

So, Scott and his father, who has a small Bobcat, cleared away all of the downed trees, roots and all, in one day, and as soon as the ground began to dry, they repaired the fence between our two yards. It was very nice of them, to be sure, but it was what should have happened in a civilized world. And during the cleanup Emily asked if we could exchange phone numbers because the only neighbors they know are Carlos and me, and this way, if anything ever happened, we could get in touch with one another. I found it strange that they hadn’t met a single neighbor in the two years they lived here but, that’s just me.

Once the work was done, Carlos suggested we invite them over for cocktails and appetizers to thank them for the work. Being the cynic, I said we didn’t need to thank them for doing the right thing, but, yeah, we could have them over to maybe get to know them better.

Cue Julia Roberts’ quote in the boutique on Rodeo Drive in Pretty Woman ... big mistake, huge.

We settled on the Saturday before Thanksgiving and called Emily to ask if they were available, and we got the Oh I don’t know I think we have something to do let me check and I'll get back to you run on sentence. I told Carlos I thought they might not be keen on going to Homo House and Emily couldn’t think fast enough on her feet to come up with an excuse.

Still, we didn’t hear from them until five days later, on Friday night, when she called to say they’d love to come the next day. Well, Carlos explained that since we hadn’t heard from them the whole week, we’d made other plans and suggested we do it December 3rd.

It was settled. Now, as a couple of queers, we don’t just tear open a bag of Doritos and set out a six-pack of Bud Light for guests; we planned a menu, made sure we had beer and wine and booze, and then planned the food, everything from my Aunt Norma’s Fabulous Salsa to homemade Hummus, to baby pizzas and bruschetta and little desserts ... like I said, queers do it up right.

On December 3rd, we prepared all the food and cleaned the house and set everything up. Carlos said they were coming at 3PM but when that time arrived we had no guests; we waited. I asked Carlos if he’d said 3 o’clock or 4 o’clock and he wondered, too. So, we waited until 4PM and 4:15 and 4:30. Finally Carlos called and got Emily on her cell phone.

They weren’t coming because .... ahem ....
Emily had a migraine all week long and this was her first day to get out of the house.
Her children were at church.
Her father-in-law—we invited him, too, because of his help—was sick.
Her husband was out of town.
And the kicker ...
We hadn’t called to remind them.
So, apparently, the phone invitation isn't good enough, and the fact that, one day, when we saw Scott in the yard and invited them again, wasn't good enough, we should have called to remind them. But I digress ...

Now, as I said to Carlos, and I’m not exactly proud of this but it’s a fact: I am a fabulous liar. See, I know that Rule #1 of Liar Club is ... never talk about Liar Club ... I kid. Rule #1 is: Keep the lie simple. One lie, not five different lies any one of which, well, except that last one, would have worked.

So, there Carlos and I were, with drinks—oh, and I made Wassail!—and food and no guests. And there Carlos was, suggesting to Emily that we do something after the first of the year. Once he hung up I said to him ...
"We’re not getting together with them. If they want to do something let them suggest it and plan it. .... And then i might have a migraine!"
And that was that; we have not heard one peep from them since that day. No walking over to apologize for the “mix up;” not even a note left on the door. No Christmas card to plan a new date, nothing. So, as every single housewife on ever real single housewife show has said to her enemy at least once:
“We’re done.”
Cut to this past weekend, and we had gone down to Around-The-Way-Gays, David and Neal’s house for some drinks and such. We met a friend of theirs, John, a fellow homosexual, and a group of us were chatting and the story of the tree and the fence came up. As we told it, and recounted how Scott and Emily had come over during the storm to tell us about the tree and promised to fix it all, someone said ...
“They probably did that because they know The Gays are meticulous about their yards.”
And then we finished with the No Show and this quiet friend of David and Neal’s said ..
“I guess they also didn’t know that The Gays are just as meticulous about good manners.”
And a laugh was had by all.

That’s it ... carry on. 

Oh, except that, once the fence was done, Carlos and I bought some small fir trees that will grow rather large to shield our view into Scott and Emily's backyard; see, the thing we like best about our house is that you don't see into the neighbor's yards so it feels very private. But, after this kerfuffle, Carlos looked at the small firs and said:
"We should'a splurged on the large ones."
Now, carry on ...


Fearsome Beard said...

Unfortunately manners aren't big in today's world.
I would just stay cordial and friendly neighbors and leave it at that. Front door neighbors would be a term we used in the part of the south I grew up in.

Susan said...

You are a super great storyteller, Bob. But, yeesh, so sorry this happened. It seems your neighbors run hot and cold with knowing the right thing to do. Hope those fir trees grow up big and strong.

Bob Slatten said...

Sound advice, sir, as expected. And that's what we plan to do.

Thanks for the compliment and, yes, we're fertilizing the firs as we speak!

the dogs' mother said...

What a treat they missed out on! xoxoxoxo

mrs.missalaineus said...

sad, i know we'd drive all night to nosh with all y'all!


carlnepa said...

How rude! I'd be out there fertilizing the firs alright. You've learned your lesson about them. As Robert Frost wrote...good fences make good neighbors. He must have known Emily and Scott.

mistress maddie said...

As the Dowager Countless would say. " These commoner's will never hold to etiquette and manners if us aristocrats are not here."

anne marie in philly said...

those idiots don't know what they are missing! arms length to them.

Dave R said...

I hate to tell you this... but small firs grow slowly, it's not until they're around that they begin to add inches instead of centimeters... this is the nature of evergreens... you should have splurged on the large ones.

Helen Lashbrook said...

I can count on the fingers (not thumb) of my right hand the number of times our next door neighbours have spoken to me, but do I care? However I would care bigly if they'd done this to me! Your neighbours have no class! Recommend Miss Manners Book of Etiquette to them. Perhaps they're Trumpelstiltskin voters?

Mitchell is Moving said...

I, the New Yorker, would have been more like you. Jerry, the Midwesterner, would have been more like Carlos. And we both would have planted REALLY BIG trees.

Frank said...

When we lived on a hill in Connecticut our neighbors were mostly out of sight. In 15 years we were never invited to their homes nor did we invite our neighbors to ours. A polite very short chat in the driveway while removing snow or mowing was all we ever exchanged.

Here, in New Mexico we have more neighbor/friends (gay, lesbian, straight) with whom we have shared meals, partied, gone hiking with, gone out to dinner, etc.

There are neighbors...and then there are neighbors.

As far as manners...not all gays share those values either; one friend whose partner passed away and whom we continually checked in on and invited to share many a dinner, every party and get together; who ate many meals at our home and connected socially to others through us...NEVER ONCE invited us to his home for any reason; as he was not a cook, however never even offered to treat us to McDonald's or a pizza. On the many occasions when we were at his place of residence for some reason we were never even invited in for coffee...we always visited in the yard or garden...had to ask to use the bathroom.
(Glad I got that off my chest after all those years)

People are strange...and I will never figure us out.

Bob Slatten said...

Well, we already knew that you and I think alike, while Carlos and San gerlado march to their own drummer!

Your last line says it all ... i agree!

Mark in DE said...

The poor dears probably accepted the invitation thinking they could try stepping outside their straight proverbial box, but then when the time came found they just aren't 'good' enough people to do so. Good for your two that you extended the opportunity.