It's Springtime here in my typical middle-class suburban subdivision, Americana Heights.
Before I go on, have you ever wondered how land developers name their creations? I mean, take "Americana", a mysterious colonial-y play on the name of a great nation. And "Heights". Heights of what? This is flat land. There isn't a low spot around here unless you count the exhausted peat bogs that filled up with water and the village now calls "lakes". I guess it sounds better than "Flats". I can just see the developer and his team, sharing a table at the local bar, the table filled with empty beer pitchers and one team member fumbling with a random name generator. "How about ... Misty Creek, Boeuf Mills, Vacuous Valley, Mothra Hills? I know! Americana Heights! And we'll name all the streets after famous early Americans!" There is a great hubbub of excitement at the table and more beer is ordered.
This is how my street was named Penn. A simple name, but constantly misspelled and mis-heard. "What street?" I answer "Penn, like in William Penn." "Who?"
Anyway, it's Spring here in my shitty subdivision, and the For Sale signs are popping up faster than the tulips and daffodils. Only this year, they carry extra signage, tacked on below the main sign, with strange phrases such as "Under Contract", "Short Sale" and "Bank Owned Property". A result of the times I suppose.
Last night, I pulled onto my street and noticed that the house across for us was sporting a brand new For Sale sign. This is normally not a big deal, but I live on a cul-de-sac with only five houses, so it's rather unusual. The first few thoughts that ran through my mind were missed payments, divorce and death in the family. Such is the way that my cheery brain works. But I imagine that they just got the bug up their ass to move, and they were following through on it.
Even though there are only five houses on our street, we're not a close knit group. I won't miss these people. They have a tendency to make life "interesting" for the rest of us. They're always good for a few police visits a year, one or two knock-down drag-out fights on the front lawn during the summer and teenagers who draw all the loud mouth shit heels from the other neighborhoods.
But, they're ours. And when it comes right down to it, it's easier to deal with a known commodity, than the unknown alternative. And don't tell me you haven't looked on in trepidation when the new neighbors, the "Aliens", have pulled their moving machines up to the vacant house and started unloading their shit. There you are ... peeking through the drapes in the front room, checking them out. And your gut churns just a little bit as you wonder if they're part of a motorcycle gang, or if they're going to start a meth lab, or if they're going to be knocking on your door 5 times a day, borrowing shit and never returning it. You know ... "those people".
So, in the coming months, that's what I'll be wondering. With my luck, it'll be a family with 6 kids, all under the age of 5 with the 300 pound Mom in a muumuu and a skinny Dad with a bad haircut who wears white wife-beaters in December. The brats will run wild and unsupervised, laying waste in their wake like a pack of locusts. The front lawn will be cluttered with the rusty hulk of a car on cement blocks and pink flamingos. Squalor will reign.
And I'll turn to Jan and say ... "There goes the neighborhood".