Our newest next door neighbors arrived a year ago, maybe more, I forget. I have never met either one, or their baby or the nanny, or their new dog who barks loudly and often, literally disturbing the up-til-now peace. Despite having to walk the dog and thus appear in public, they are not doing a very good job. The wife may be agoraphobic, since by all reports she speaks to no one and is rarely outside on foot. The husband is seen only wheeling the garbage out to the street every Monday. They never nod or wave or acknowledge their own existence.
This morning I went out to the end of my driveway to get the morning paper, something I enjoy doing because it reminds me of Tony Soprano going out in his bathrobe to get his paper. (I still miss James Gandolfini, but that's another story.) Feeling very Tony-ish, and with the Sopranos theme in my head, I am always cheerful at that point in my day, and today was no exception--until I noticed the unknown neighbor approaching with his little child-- I still have no idea what gender it is-- and their rambunctious dog. They made a pretty picture, and as they neared I welcomed the chance for a friendly exchange of meaningless pleasantries, the glue of small-town life. Things like, "Nice morning" or "Looks like rain, don't you think?" Instead, the father stopped short and pulled the dog's leash back hard, halting their little procession and hiding behind a squat, bushy spruce until I had picked up my newspaper and started back inside.
This obvious slight pissed me off, and as I continued up the drive I said loud enough for him to hear, "I don't bite, you know." As the band of three continued their walk now that I was safely out of the way, it confirmed my suspicion that they had stopped to avoid interacting with me. That pissed me off further, prompting me to utter, again loud enough for them to hear, "Asshole."
My son insists this standoff exists because when the new neighbors moved in my husband brought over a post-hole digger and offered to help them plant their mailbox in the dirt. It had sat in a bucket of rocks, an eyesore, for several months since when they first arrived the ground was frozen. But weeks before that, Mitch had gone over with a lovely pineapple to welcome them to the neighborhood and had the door fairly slammed in his face by the resident female. (She took the pineapple.)
My son says the post-hole digger trumps the pineapple. I say it's no wonder Israel and Palestine can't get along, and it's a good thing we don't have any rockets. Perhaps I should check for tunnels.