It sounded so nice: an invitation to the local block party. After years of living on our street, we’d never been invited, due to the block party being intended for the people on an adjoining street. Nice people: about time we got to know them. Or so it seemed…
All was well. We’d already met several of the people on that street while out walking our respective dogs. Lots of polite social chatter, kids getting along well, food, etc.
And so when I met up with one of the organizers a few days later, I did not expect to learn the truth. The block party is a great way to flush out the bad people, she told me, and apparently we are the bad people. My child’s citizenship group is made up of bad kids, she told me, although she has never met them. She knows they are bad, because the kids in her home town who belonged to the same organization a couple of decades ago are bad. Then the whammy. We are also bad because, although she had never met any of us in the years before the block party, she wanted to know why my spouse had been taken away by the police? What the….?
“No, my spouse has never been taken away by the police,” I said. “That’s not true.”
“It’s okay,” she replied. “you don’t have to tell me.”
“There’s nothing to tell, because that’s not true,” I said.
“Yes it is,” she said. “I saw it.”
Well, you can’t argue with that kind of illogic.
And so I learned that sometimes it’s better not to know your neighbors. It’s also true that good fences make good neighbors. And even though I don’t live on their street, I’m wondering how high a good-neighbor fence should be, and if local bylaws would allow me to build one right across the entrance to that street. Would 20 feet be high enough, and how about cinder blocks?
I do know that my schedule is busy whenever next year’s event is planned. Life is too short to waste it.