Friday, February 24, 2012

Cult Neighbours

Deb: Sometimes I think my neighbours are part of a cult. They always seem to know exactly what do in the neighbourhood and when to do it. If the garbage pickup has been changed to a new day, there they all are, trashed to the hilt in neat little rows on the street. Clearly there was a notice sent around. Or was there?

They seem to be on the “culting edge” of all neighbourhood activities that are frequently eluding my poor husband and I. It’s downright creepy how they seem to anticipate every holiday garbage pickup, and every food and clothing drive. They arrive as if out of nowhere at our door with their plastic pod smiles asking for clothes for the poor. As I stammer and scramble to cover, pretending I just left my donation bag upstairs, I find myself suddenly supplying the poor with a Marc Jacobs studded sailor top ... tags still on.

A week before Victoria Day this year, there they were, this time enlisting their wee devil children who stood at our doorstep sporting their perfect spawn smiles, hands outstretched waiting for our twenty-dollar street fireworks contribution.

“Thanks, Mrs. Mochrie, would you also like to bake something for the sweet table?” says Pod Junior with a grin that told me he knew damn well I don’t bake. What kind of evil game is he playing at??
“Yes, Connor, I would be happy to bake something.”

I had to be careful not to let my mind wander to which bakery I would be buying said baking at, knowing all too well that Connor could use my moment of weakness to steal my everlasting soul.

Well, this year I am going to turn the table on these vacant mindless Moonie wannabes. I am not going to bake, by God! I am not even going to fake-bake. Because that’s what they want. They want me to become one of them. They want me to know stuff. They want my husband to stand at the end of the driveway and chat with the other males about tools. And that just ain’t gonna fly. And you know why? He knows NOTHING about tools. Ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaaa. We’re going to beat them at their own evil game. Because I know that they exist only to see us putting out our recycling on the right day or fake-baking for the fireworks, and we are stronger than that, damn their eyes!

So this year we decided to screw with their brainwashed matter. We purchased several packets of extra-long-lasting sparklers. You know, the ones that are safe for the tots because of their long burning feature, keeping tiny hands well away from the flame?

I went down the street to the home of street fireworks organizers, Betty and Bill Zeebub, and thrust my extra long sparklers at them, “Thought we would contribute a little extra this year, guys ... you know ... for the kids.”

This will have their forked tails in a knot, I thought. And it did. They were not programed for this out-of-format, off the grid gesture. But they quickly gained composure saying, “Oh thanks, but now we’ll have too many. You see we did our shopping for this event WEEKS ago.”
“Oh keep them,” I said, “you never know!”

With our sparkler test launched, I laid in wait. If they possess a shred of their former humanity, they will use them!!! They will have to. Who among us in human form would not be thrilled to use the gifted long-burning sparklers?

The day after the event as I was scrambling down the driveway in my housecoat, frantically shoving papers in the bin, the screeching brakes of the city truck rounding the corner ... I saw them. The burned and mangled remains of our extra-long sparklers in our neighbour’s recycle bin.

Maybe there is hope for them yet.

Maybe after this they will slip up again and again, parking on the wrong side of the street, or making too much noise after midnight, slowly but steadily exposing their vulnerable human selves.

As I walked back into the house I felt proud for being even a small part of their human restoration.

As I walked in the house, I heard the city truck screech past our house and I turned to see it drive right by our fully stocked recycle bin. 

SHIT! IT’S GARBAGE DAY.

As my bin error dawned on me, I am sure I saw a curtain flutter in the Zeebub’s living room and the trace of a satisfied smirk on Betty’s vacant puss.

Okay, Pod Pepes. You won this one. But the battle isn’t over.   

Barbara: …The Zeebub’s!! Oh my god!!! Okay, okay, I think their kith and kin (if such things have kin) live in my ‘hood!! It’s crazy—they truly know every rule and law, and I live in TERROR of their bloodless smiles and perfect grasp of neighbourhood etiquette: “Noooo, the bins are supposed to go here not there, and by the way, it’s really much safer if you back in when you park … you know … for the kids.”

45 comments:

  1. I have the neighbours that like their music loud and park wherever they want, whenever they want, have LOUD company at midnight and...well...are just loud. They have toddlers and, as much as I like children, these kids are evil. I can hear them screaming when I am in my house and they are in theirs. They like to climb on our fence and mess with our flowers and lawn decorations. Ugh. My dog HATES these kids, so I usually tell her to bark at them to scare them off.
    I would gladly give you my neighbours and take a set of the know-it-alls. Anytime, day or night, please take them!
    HAPPY FRIDAY!

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    1. I know it would make the story better if it were the truth Steph but my neighbours aren't really evil. But they MUST be in some neighboury cult because they know everything we do not know! Seems like you have real evil neighbours. Oh dear! Good for the dog! And yes, happy Friday!

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    2. Steph we have neighbors on one side of us just like that, noisy and loud with somewhat evil kids who tend to scream alot running around. Their older one in particular has a mean streak. I constantly find him in our yard damaging things, I mean really what 8 yr old thinks kicking in a neighbors basement window is agood idea? I'd swear they're the spawn of satan sometimes.

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  2. That is hilarious Deb, it could be a movie....reminds me of that one with Jamie Lee Curtis Christmas with the Crangs. Your description of the people (especially the kids asking for baked goods is perfect) No worries, when I was asked for baked goods, I used to unwrap them and put them in a tin... ha ha ha. When you are busy, you have no time to do the street cult stuff, but I just loved your description of it, so funny. Thanks for that post, made me laugh, which is a good way to start the day when it's freezing rain out yet again......

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  3. Mary-Jo I have done the tin thing before, you bet I have. Thanks. I was having fun with today's post!!!

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  4. Cracked me up Deb...and just remember the wise words of Groucho..."I wouldn't want to be a member of any cult that would have me!" He said that right?...Living here in Pleasantville, I'm reduced to eyeballing my neighbor Doug's house for signs of any adjustment in the routine. As with your neighbors, God only knows how he knows but I have learned to read his trash cans like a surgeon looking for an errant cell so as not to miss a pick up day!

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  5. It was Groucho Annette and Woody Allen quoted same in Annie Hall I think. Of course they said "club" but cult works!!! I laughed when you said you eyeball Doug for any change in the routine! but my thing is HOW DO THEY FRIGGIN KNOW EVERYTHING???? We get to appointments on time, we pay our taxes on time but street stuff, rules and the like????? NO!

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  6. Loved the post.....and the street cult stuff....NICE !!!! I was like this is the exact description my moms looking for our neighbours !!!I Feel for ya Deb........Although we live in a building....we have faced a lot like this..!!! No freakin Idea whats going on around here...its like everyone seems to know...and not us....We tried all the strategy we could...Did every possible thing....This post made me laugh so much coz my Mom keeps saying the same thing....."How the hell do these people know EVERYTHING ?????"
    the last line "Okay, Pod Pepes. You won this one. But the battle isn’t over" LMAO..it was damn funny !!! Dont kill me....but Somehow I pictured very dramatic music playing in the background.....you giving a stern look like in one of those cheesy soap operas and saying that ...and I just want to say....
    YOU WILL WIN.....Mrs.Mochrie......YOU WILL............!!
    If you want we'll all come to cheer !!!
    We can all have discussions and come up with plans!!! ;) :D

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    1. And Did I mention I REALLY LOVE you gals ??.......you make my day !!!
      <3 xoxo

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    2. We love you back Shalaka! And music! That's what I needed! We need to find a way to put theme music on the blog!!!!

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  7. This is too funny. There are no monitors on my street and as they say everyone knows your name. I have lived here since 1972 and for all those years we have only had one family that was intrusive and the neighbors just started to ignore them and come to expect them to be busy bodies but they are really nice folks who like to protect the integrity of the neighborhood. As for trash bins we put all the ones out on the same day. Green for garden, blue for recycling and black for garbage. Always on Wednesday no changes. If a holiday is on Monday they come on Thursday but everyone's is out on Tuesday night. We also have to move our cars on the street for street cleaning on Thursday and Friday. One $75 ticket cures anyone of that mistake or we run out to tell people to move their cars. We have a very unique street and my son loved it so much as a kid he moved back on so his kids would have the same experience with all the new families moving in to this very old neighborhood.

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    1. What a sec Madge...are you...are you....ONE OF THEM! Actually I envy you. Us? Never have a clue. Ran out in my housecoat on Wednesday to see which bin was out. Sigh.

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  8. Thanks for the finally Friday laugh Deb! I live in the boonies and although I have neighbors they are off in the distance. I have six acres and a long driveway with my home set away from the road. There are down sides though, like lugging the garbage cans out to the end of the driveway. Because the driveway is long it has claimed innocent cars on occasion when the snow is deep. Four wheel drive is a must up here in winter. I live in a small town and everyone knows everyone, that has it's good and bad side as well. What I love about this town, I never lock my doors and can leave my car keys in the car without a worry

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    1. Lovely Mary lovely. The simple safe country life. So nice. But...WHEN IS GARBAGE DAY? Come on, don't think about it! When?

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    2. Every Thursday without fail! One of the things I miss about my son being away at college. I have to lug those pails out there myself. Maybe I could teach little Sprite to haul those things out there for me :D

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  9. Ok I'm probably not one of those people but I do always know what day garbage is picked up on. We only have one day to worry about though garbage and recycling is on the same day. I have also sent my kids down the street for fundraising but only because the school made me.

    We have a different neighbor problem though. One particular neighbor of mine is a member of the stick up your arse cult. She complains about every-single-thing to everyone. If she's talking to you it's to complain about a neighbor, if you see her talking to someone else she's complaning about you. Mind you she has no problem complaining about things to your face either. Just as an example she started grilling me about a bush party some teens had that was broken up by the police a few days beforehand. She was running her own little investigation and wanted to know if my daughter had been involved. This was 2 years ago so which one of my daughters did she suspect, the 10 year old or the 5 year old?

    She drives me and the rest of the neighborhood nuts. This is the type of woman who keeps binocoulars beside her front window and I swear she's going to start collecting cats any day now. I think I'd take the know-it-alls over the complains-about-all.

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    1. The beauty of the stick up your arse cult is that they are so easy to spot! :-) We have those too.

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  10. So very funny! Since we just moved, I keep an eye on the neighbors to figure out when trash day is because I don't know, and I'm too embarrassed to ask. I'm usually the one who runs out in her pajamas (bright orange so everyone will notice) or sends the teenage boy out in his pajamas to put the trash cans out before the truck comes around in the early hours of the morning on trash collection day.

    I don't like the door to door sales or fundraisers kids do either (with the exception of Girl Scout cookies.) I really don't want to buy any of that stuff, but I'm such an awful neighbor to say no. My kids never do those. When every kid in the neighborhood goes to the same school and they all come home on the same day with the same fundraiser in their backpacks, those are the worst. Cause then you get 10 kids coming to the door trying to sell you the same stuff. Um, sorry, I already bought a cookie tin from the first 5 kids that came to the door.

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    1. Oh yeah when they are all selling the same paper, or chocolates or meat products! But Girl Guide Cookies mmmmmn-except the mint ones. Hate the mint ones.

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  11. I had to snorkle at Bill Zeebub! Good one!!

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  12. I still have the (sometimes) misfortune of living on campus, but I have had my share of bothersome neighbors, especially this year. I've got the magical stomping parade (I don't know WHAT they are doing up there!!!!!) above me and two fellow nursing students on my other side who are....loud at times. On my other side is another nursing major who plays her guitar, which is very nice :]

    Holly and I are in the process of trying to find somewhere to live off campus for next year since she'll be graduating. I hope I am one of the people who at least knows when it's trash day so I don't look like a blithering idiot trying to get it out there at the last minute. lol Side note: I applied for a part-time summer job today. Hopefully will be getting an interview next week!!!!!

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    1. Good luck with the house off campus and the job hunt!!! But take care to know when garbage day is!

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    2. Kelly when you move house ( i hope your search goes well for you both ) can you look up your rubbish remover online , be it a city council or private company and see what bin is due to go out when . same for you as well Deb

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  13. This sounds as if it comes directly from a movie. :D

    I think we do have these types of neighbours here in Germany, too, but my neighbourhood is really quiet and boring. :P

    We don't have this fundraiser thing...so no kids come by.
    We usually know when to put out the bins out (everything is picked up at the same day :).

    The neighbours next to our house moved in last year (Our old neighbours both died...that's a sad story...they were nice, but quite old. Once, our neighbour saved my borther's life, because he nearly drowned in our pond. Our neighbour - who was like 70 at that time - jumped over the garden fence and pulled him out...). I hardly know them. They made a looot of noise and dirt, and their workers always blocked my parking lot (seriously?). At least they invited us to their welomce party. ;)

    Oh, and we have some neighbours, who tend to yell at each other every day, so that the whole street knows that they're fighting. He is always drunk, I guess.

    Other than that...nothing is happening in my street. :P

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  14. I don't know Becki, sounds like you have some stuff going on there! And in fairness this is not really about my neighbours (I mean the evil part) I just riffed off the idea that they all seem to know things we don't know and the evil cult idea was born. Just a fun post for a Friday. Actually most of them are very nice!

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    1. *hehe* I didn't think you would complain about your real neighbours in the internet! :)

      But I know that there are these people, who know everything, and who want to know everything.

      It's really funny, though! :D

      Had a talk with my neighbours today. They are nice, too. ;)

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  15. Haha so funny! It's times like these I'm grateful for New Zealand culture. In my 'hood you may know the names of those on either side of you and that's about it. There's not much neighbourly spying on each other. Actually there might be. I get distinct vibes that one guy I sometimes pass in the mornings knows a lot more about me than I do about him. Ooer. Anyway, there's also no need for us to move our cars for street cleaning, yay!! And lastly, there are no street events like fireworks or anything like that, so my ignorance of the street happenings is not a problem!

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    1. Aimee sounds like a perfect world!

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  16. So if you REALLY want to turn the tables on them, ask them about the secret handshake & bin days. Don't start at the top, but find someone on the block whom you think might be willing to spill some of the secrets and invite her over for tea. But don't expect all the secrets at one time...build it up.

    Think of it this way: they're probably jealous of you and wondering why you aren't making the first move.

    And at least you don't still live in an apartment building with bowling-ball bouncing elephants living upstairs. OY GEVALT!

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    1. Meredith I have lived in such buildings. However my Jack Russell terrier at the time, out barked the most bouncy of ball bouncing elephants.

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  17. Sharon (Mrs Ashley Wilkes) ReineFebruary 24, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    Trying to figure a tone out, here will just go w stream of conciousness.
    Neighbours huh? I have had a misery guts of a week- ya see i live in a apt & my neighbours are hoarders. YUP just like the ones u see on TV- the smell is abominable, and the fights between the two shweinhunds have resulted in police visits of & on for YEARS. Supposedly at least one of them has a mental health issue so the landlord is limitied bbcos its considered discrimination against mental health diasability to procede against them . This week we were informed we were being sprayed for bugs ( roaches I think) SO on my days off I had to pay someone to help me pull EVERYthing out of every closet & cupboard, box bag & cover for the spraying.I had to stay in a hotel ovenight bcos I had 12 hr shift, in my hospital wed & thurs w very sick patients w no time to clear up even my bed so tyhen I come home thurs night and the SMELL hit me like a brick!- Opened up all the windows to air out the place and THEN had to start clearing off the bed to have a place to sleep. Then 1st thing this am paid the person AGAIN to come help me put everything away.It is almost done (5pm) but I am physically and emotionally exhausted and my legs back feet REEELY hurt!
    LOVED the story tho- Maureen Lippman ( British actress) said she would go to ladies clubs fundraisers to buy goods from their tables to keep in the freezer so to be thot "a proper wife and mother" when company dropped by!
    Final thought-
    Deb as Scarlet O'Hara, framed in a sunset, raising her garbage bag to the sky in ONE HAND!!
    "I WILL Get my garbage put out on the right day ! I WILL!! And not me nor any of mine will hunger to recycle either! As Gawd As MY Witness.. I'LL NEVER MISS GARBAGE DAY AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!" ( Cue Music and fade out)

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    1. Oh Sharon what an awful awful tale. You poor thing. But I did love your ending and I love to fancy myself as miss Scarlet. Even with a green garbage bag!

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  18. ok now I know this is you guys's blog....but...I am in Dayton Beach, FL!!!!! I am just so excited : ) I have a feeling this will be the best weekend ever!!

    So I know how to solve the garbage day problem. My township sends out a calendar every year. It goes to every resident in the township in January each year. It is free, but I'm sure our taxes go towards it somewhere LOL
    Anyway this calendar has the entire garbage schedule (including holiday and recycling days), also it has some fun free township events and other little reminders and such.
    So pretty much every day we refer to the calendar to see what needs to be set out on the curb : )

    Any way just a thought
    good luck with the neighborhood "cult" : )

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    1. Kelly as much as this pains me to say...we ummm have been sent a garbage calendar...yup...ummm yup we have been sent one. Hmmmm wonder where it is? Guilty look, sweaty palms.

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  19. During my days as an RA (Resident Advisor), I had a couple of my residents make frequent complaints that their upstairs neighbors were doing what sounded like dropping bowling balls on their floor. Sure enough, one night I went to investigate, and....yeah. Still not sure what they were doing. *suspicious*

    I don't know who mentioned it, but as I was reading this I was thinking how much of a sitcom this sounds like: suspicious neighbors!! Hahahaha

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  20. Maybe it was...bowling balls!! Made me laugh that you never found out. I love that. They are tricky those bowling ball neighbours.

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  21. *shrugs* our neighbors mostly keep to themselves. The only issue we have is that for whatever reason, when they slam their car doors, our wall and window shudders!

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    1. Wow either your walls are thin or they have really really heavy cars!

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  22. This is in response to Steph's post which came up on my email but did not post on the blog for some reason. I will copy and past it here and then respond.

    *hehe* I didn't think you would complain about your real neighbours in the internet! :)

    But I know that there are these people, who know everything, and who want to know everything.

    It's really funny, though! :D

    Had a talk with my neighbours today. They are nice, too. ;)

    As I said in earlier responses to people who felt the same way, this was not about my neighbours at all. The only part that was about my neighbours was the fact that they ALWAYS know stuff that we don't. So...on that vein I decided to do a fun "cult, evil" fun story. But I love them and their kids who are not devils by the way. I just thought it would be nice and fun to go off on a Short story format for a change and riff of the cult thing. If I really felt this way about them I would never say it online. Never. So my lesson, do not stray from the norm as I found that so many people took it the wrong way. And if you are a neighbour reading this...LOVE YA!

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    1. Ah...it's this misunderstanding thing again.

      I just wanted to say that I never thought that you wrote about your real neighbours.

      I just thought about my neighbours and neighbours in general, and if we do have a cult thing here, too.
      I never wanted to complain about anybody.

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    2. Please don't be Becki, I wasn't upset with you at all! I just panicked that it might be coming off that way to some people and worried that I word hurt someone when it was just silly story based on my feelings of being a Hood Loser. Please do not feel bad. I'm sorry. I guess I should re-read my "pick up the phone" Huh? You are a doll. I could never be ticked on tiny bit with you. xo

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    3. I understand that.
      Sometimes, it's so difficult to find the right English words and expressions.

      Awww. You're so lovely. xo

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  23. Sharon ( yeah it is always about ME!) ReineFebruary 27, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Fiddle de Dee! I never though u were ragging on your neighb's- just bemused as to how they always were so au courant w the ways of the hood and u were SO not! It was cute & funny. I know I was too full of my own angst over my sitch that the topic may have veered off tangent in my comment. Sorry if so.

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