I think there’s something wrong with me, you guys, and I know that goes without saying, I really do, but the glee I got from making my neighbor feel bad for doing something nice for me the other day really just sealed it for me:
There’s something wrong with me.
What happened was, my husband and boys and I were going out of town for a couple of nights to celebrate Thanksgiving with family, and my husband suggested that I take our spare key over to our neighbor’s house so that he could come in and feed the cat and water the Venus fly trap while we were away. I’ve kept the cat alive for over 10 years and the fly trap alive for 3, and so they’re 2 of the biggest damned accomplishments of my life and I’m not about to let them die just so I can go eat turkey at my dad’s house and listen to my older sister boss everyone around.
My neighbor is a 45-year-old police officer that my whole family adores. His son and daughter are away at college, so sometimes on his weekends off-duty, he brings his wife over to our house to have a couple of beers and shoot the shit (not literally, although he does have a gun and that would be fun). We enjoy making fun of each other in a kind of big brother/little sister sort of way, like the night that he sent a group text to my husband and me that said, “Hey, guys, Bill from down the street is having people over. Grab the kids and come down!”
I responded that I was tired and wasn’t sure I’d be up for joining them, but that the hubs and the kids might head that way and thanks for the invite.
And then he sent a text that said, “Come on, Shay…there’s food here,” followed quickly by a separate text that only contained an emoji of a pig.
And so then I said, “What the fuck is the goddamned pig supposed to mean?” and he responded with, “If the shoe fits, lol” and then I might have said something like, “You piece of shit. I will kick your pig cop ass and blame it on police brutality,” and then my husband told me that I needed to put my phone down.
In my own defense, I’ve always thought it was really disrespectful to call police officers pigs, and I don’t ever do it…but I think there might have been something subliminal going on due to the pig emoji he had just used to call me a fatass—and besides, he started it. (MOM!!)
Honestly, though, besides the fact that I respect the hell out of police officers and appreciate everything they do to keep us safe—especially in today’s society, where random assholes seem to be reinventing the goddamned Wild West—my neighbor is my favorite kind of people. You can often spot someone who has your sense of humor almost immediately.
My neighbor wasn’t one of those people.
One of my favorite things to remind him of is how the first time I met him, I thought he was an asshole. But lucky for him, I always tell him, I overcame that first impression and grew to adore him. I’m pretty sure the feeling is mutual, but even if I’m totally misreading that and it’s not, we still have a ton of fun getting on each other’s cases.
Anyhoo, as I was handing over the spare key last week, I paused for a moment, thinking.
“You know,” I said to my neighbor, the key suspended in the air between us, “why don’t you just hold onto it for us indefinitely in case we ever accidentally lock ourselves out of the house?”
My neighbor nodded. “Sure,” he said.
I was about to drop the key into his upturned hand, but then I had another thought, and you guys, I just couldn’t help it.
I narrowed my eyes at him and cocked my head to the side a little bit, all suspicious-like. “But don’t let yourself in when we’re not home and start, like, pawing through my underwear drawer, taking sniffs…”
My neighbor’s eyes widened. “Oh, I would never—Shay, you know I’m not that kind of a person—"
“Whatever, dude,” I said, finally handing him my key. I sighed in a way that said, I’ll let you do me this favor, neighb, even though I clearly think you’re a dirty pervert.
I’m shocked he didn’t throw the key right back in my face, and in fact, I’m pretty sure I heard him chuckle as he walked off, key in hand, shaking his head.
Good neighbors are hard to find, peeps—as are padlocks that can be fitted perfectly to your underwear drawer.
But I’ve been lucky to find both.