posted Mon, 11 Jul 2005
Yesterday afternoon, I traipsed from house to house on my street, collecting email addresses for my neighborhood’s crime and lost pet alert system. I had only my block to cover, so you would think it wouldn’t take that long, but this is the South, and people are friendly, and one must chat. You can’t just say, “Hello, I’m Class Factotum, I live down the street and I’m collecting email addresses for the neighborhood mail list. What’s yours? Thank you very much. Goodbye.”
Really, that’s how I’d like to do it, because I am all about efficiency and getting the job done, but, as I said, this is the South. In three hours, I got only 13 emails. Less than half.
I knew I was in trouble with the first one when we spent 15 minutes talking about sinus surgery, Mr Ray, who was the old man who used to own my house (the only owner prior to me, actually), azaleas, and the sorry idiots who run this city.
The next few were relatively quick, but then I got another talker. She was very nice – as were they all, but I kept thinking that I just wanted to finish. She asked how long I had lived on the block – where had I moved from. Oh Miami? Really? Her son spoke Spanish! So did I? Well, let her get her son out here so we could speak Spanish together! No, really!
When I said that I really should be getting the rest of the addresses, she said oh, no, it would just take a second. She was so nice, despite her four yippy obnoxious dogs, that I quelled my protests. She told me she would help me collect any addresses I had had trouble with and flagged down a few neighbors who were outdoors.
The next lady was elderly and told me she was so sorry but she didn’t have a computah but she was in the phone book, if I did need to reach her.
Then I got to Eddie’s house. I had met Eddie, an airline pilot/real estate magnate when I first moved in four years ago. He introduced himself to me by telling me he had wanted to buy my house but I had beat him to it. Still, he took the time to point out that I needed to put a lock on my fuse box, which is on the outside of my house.
“If someone wanted to break in and hurt you, the first thing he would do is cut off your power,” he warned. He also wanted me to put burglar bars on my basement windows. “A woman living alone,” he said. “Not safe.”
I hadn’t seen Eddie since then, although I had noticed that the décor of his house had not been updated from basic bachelor: he has a plastic Arkansas razorback on his front porch and a rusty chair. That’s about it. I took that to mean he is still a bachelor.
He really is a nice guy – he just bought the house next door for his aunt from Houston, who is recovering from breast cancer. He had moved there for six months to take care of her while she was undergoing treatment at MD Anderson, and now wants her up here where there is some more family.
But he does not know how to talk to women! Yes, he got the part right about my looking not 41 (although really, this is what 41 looks like), and he got the part right about being interesting to talk to, but when he said, “Ah, this weather is great! If I were a nudist, this would be perfect!”
I had to say, “Eddie, that’s a little too much information!”
He grinned and blushed beet red. Red to match that razorback.
The end of the line
11 months ago