You know how they say life begins at 50, which by the way it doesn’t? Life began for me at about 7:30 last night.
I’d not been feeling well all afternoon. Migraine. But I hoisted my cat-fur-pantsed self off the couch around then to roll the trash cans to the curb. As I was doing so, my incredibly handsome Amazon delivery guy—and I don’t mean he’s from the Amazon but maybe he is, what do I know?—leaped up my porch steps manfully to deliver several packages, and I got yer package right here, Amazon guy.
I decided to sit on my front porch and open said packages, and they included a fair number of belated birthday gifts from readers, which was a delight and thank you. Among my gifts was a Ring doorbell from Miss Doxie. It’s like Miss Doxie knows my soul. She knows my innermost needs. I’ve been wanting a Ring doorbell ever since I moved in here to ward off the many odd knocks I get.
I was admiring it and the DVD of The Ring and The Ring II that she also sent me, along with the ring she got to marry herself over her whole three-ring theme, when a car pulled up. It was The Poet.
“Oh!” I said, as I am Dick and June. Oh! Oh! Oh! Look! See, see The Poet! “Did you text? I’ve been out here.”
“No, I just decided to show up,” she said, dropping off a bag full of snacks I love, and what was last night, June’s Boxing Day? It was my birthday all over again.
We got on the Off and commenced sitting at polar ends of my porch, catching up. As we did, my next-door neighbor walked by with a woman I didn’t know. We waved, because it’s the South and you wave. The woman I didn’t know introduced herself as Joan.
Oh. Joan! Look! See! See Joan!
I know who Joan is because my across-the-street neighbor, Bette, is not a Joan fan. In fact, there have been several…confrontations between the two as of late. I know this because Bette has told me in no uncertain terms.
I miss these confrontations every time. “Did you hear me hollering at Joan?” Bette will ask, and I will once again lament that I miss everything and how? I’m in this tiny house all day long but I never hear a thing.
“How do I miss everything?” I always ask Bette.
Mike the Lumbee, my neighbor who painted my porch for me, had also told me all about the feud between Joan and Bette. “Oh, we’ve had to call the law,” Mike the Lumbee said. I call him this because that’s what he always calls himself. I have his business card, and it reads
I am not making that up.
A Lumbee is a type of Native American indigenous to these here parts, as far as I know. I had never heard of them till I met Mike the Lumbee.
Anyway, Mike the Lumbee said the law has been called a few times when Bette and Joan feud. He always says “the law” and I rather enjoy it.
Also, Mike the Lumbee is up in everything. He’ll tell you all about everyone, whether it’s true or not. He told everyone that time the grocery delivery didn’t come after I’d ordered $130 of groceries, and that’s how he found out where the groceries accidentally got delivered. He also told everyone I make six figures, based on nothing other than the fact he once said I was a secretary and I got uppity and corrected him.
Mike the Lumbee was trying to jog my memory on who Joan was, but I assure you I’d never met her before.
“She lives with the gray-headed guy who owns the husky,” he said, and I’ve had other people tell me that before. That gray-headed guy who owns the husky. I would remember if I saw a husky, as I know everyone by their dogs, but beyond that I really want to see a man with a gray head. In my mind he’s one of those big-foreheaded aliens with a pointy chin, all gray-headed, just walking his husky.
Anyway, I assure you I’ve never seen the gray-headed man nor have I seen his housemate Joan till last night, because I miss everything.
So there The Poet and I were, chatting on my front porch. The Poet, whose parents met in Paris. The Poet, who was nominated for a National Book Award.
Suddenly there was a hullabaloo over at Bette’s across the street. Without delving into everyone’s everything like a certain Lumbee I know, I will just say that something fairly benign happened over at Bette’s that, if you had a problem with Bette, you would see as less than benign.
Then I saw Joan run over to Bette’s, about to get up in everything, and I said to The Poet, who plays the cello in a quartet, “Oh, this isn’t gonna be good.”
There Joan was in Bette’s yard, and did you ever see two cats fight?
out her front door. Burst out of it, like that dough that comes in the tube. And the next thing you know, those two were
SCREECHING at each other, and Bette’s husband had to come out and HOLD BETTE’S ARMS BACK while Joan was taunting her to come at her. Go ahead, come at her. She did the “come on” thing with her hands.
Oh my god it was the most exciting thing I ever saw in my life.
More members of Bette’s family came out, similarly screeching. Friends of Joan’s popped out of nowhere too. Everyone was yelling, and there was much arm-waving and F-wording, and I was a pig in clover.
I glanced over at The Poet as the law made its way to our normally quiet street. You know in Toy Story when the kid enters the room and everyone stops everything? That’s what my neighborhood usually is like for me. I come out and it’s quiet as the grave. And the one time there’s excitement, the poor Poet is on my porch in a front-row seat.
“I can tell by your appalled expression you are mortified by all this,” I said over the din, “but I am absolutely delighted.”
It was almost better than my new Ring doorbell.
Why am I like that? Why do I enjoy chaos? I grew up in a quiet house. There was no hooting and hollering. But my friends can tell you, when we used to go to bars all the time in our 20s? If there was a fist fight, I headed toward it, not away from it. I’d walk over to the flying chairs. I just love it. I’m certain this speaks to a terrible flaw in my personality, but join the club, flaw.
Anyway, when the law came, he made Joan go to one side of the street and Bette to the other. This did not stop them from hurling epithets at each other across the way.
It was right then, with the law holding the woman back and them yelling across the street, that
here comes Mike, the Lumbee Indian, driving down the middle of our street on his riding lawnmower. He cuts everyone’s lawn here, except mine, a fact that rankles him. But there he was, the town crier, putputputting right in the middle of all that drama.
He looked left.
He looked right.
And just shook his head all the way back to his house.
When it was over and everyone had gone to their separate corners, my neighbor Bette made her way to my porch. “I wanted to apologize for my French,” she said, speaking to The Poet, who I think actually speaks French.
“But, June, YOU FINALLY SAW SOMETHING!” she exclaimed.
And that was how life began last night at around 7:30 on my quiet street in my quiet town.