Of course, the weekend came and New Neighbor Woman called up and asked to do something with us. I could see her on her cell phone, smoking in her driveway. It begins. Every weekend it’ll be something, oh and then just WAIT until school lets out. The child boundaries will blur and I will find myself one night unexpectedly tucking in their 5-year-old-boy here instead of my 5-year-old-girl, as my daughter will be at the neighbors’ lighting small fires.

If it’s pissy of me, forgive me. I have had neighbors I have treasured, who have stayed good friends over many years and many moves later. You have to love a neighbor who comes over and chases an errant bat out of your bedroom, one who knows when to call time out on an obnoxious playdate, one who brings a delicious meal over after you bring a baby home then lets you sleep, and all who actually have mufflers on their cars. It takes time and some hovering about to get to know your neighbors. I don’t want to be anyone’s instant new best friend.

There are good reasons I feel this way, the primary one arising from my childhood. When I was around three, my parents bought an acre of land across the street from our house, and built a new house. They sold the old house, and bought a nightmare in the process. The couple they sold it to glommed onto us like barnacles on the S.S. Failboat. OMGOMGOMG. I kid you not, every single night after they ate dinner, they would show up at our house, usually drunk too. Didn’t matter if it was summer or winter, whether or not we were still eating dinner, doing homework, had other company over, my 4th birthday party, whatever. There they fucking were, ringing the doorbell, or sometimes just walked in if the door was unlocked. My tiny little heart grew to resent them greatly.

When I asked my mother why they had to come over every night she just looked at me sadly and said, “Well, they don’t have any other friends.” When I persisted, asking why she didn’t say something to them, she would just mumble something about well, it’s just very hard, they are neighbors, and lonely, and blahblahblah. She and my dad would whine about it, bemoan them, but never did anything about it. They’d stay until long after my bedtime, and I’d stay awake listening to them bray and yabber and drink all my folks’ gin until they staggered back to their own home again. OY. I would get up for school in the morning, bleary-eyed and exhausted, and my mother would apologize for all the noise. I would then go to school, go to the library, read for awhile, then find a secret corner and sleep. No one noticed, or if they did, they never said anything about it. The librarian liked me.

So, pardon damn ME, New Neighbors, I am SENSITIVE to your glom. Sigh.