I don’t mean to be a grouch

copyright 2014 Gene Breshears

These things were piled up in front of the mailbox on our building during the moving process… and left there.

Some neighbors moved out. They lived in the building next door. For many years they patiently enduring living right above Drunk and Drunker, who I’ve written about many times before. Unlike Drunk and Drunker, they were always very nice people: fun to talk to, always sweet & friendly, always helpful, et cetera. So let’s call them Mr. and Mrs. Friendly. Mr. and Mrs. Friendly have lived there long enough that we’ve watched their daughter go from enthusiastic grammar school kid, to tween rebel, to sullen teen-ager with sketchy boyfriend.

Mrs Friendly was the neighbor who so very patiently worked with Mr Drunk when he was facing eviction to find a new place to live. Mrs Friendly was also the person who, when Mr Drunk’s relatives were moving him out and their truck drove over one of my flower beds, swept up the smashed decorative light before coming to knock on our door and tell us what happened. Mrs Friendly is the person who, more than a year since Michael and I got married, and a year-and-a-half since voters approved marriage equality in our state, gets teary-eyed when she tells me how very happy she is that we were able to get legally married.

So we were very sad a few weeks ago, while carrying cardboard out to the recycle, when Mrs. Friendly asked if she could have the boxes. Because they were moving out and needed to pack everything up by the end of the month.

Michael and I were miserable sick last week—right at the time that Mr and Mrs Friendly were doing their big move out. I was feeling a little guilty that we didn’t help with the physical move. Though I also figured that keeping our germs to ourselves was probably best. And the one time I actually saw moving going on they had a bunch of people helping. That’s the other thing, so far as I can tell, they did the bulk of their loading of stuff into a truck while I was away at work.

The thing I’ve been grumpy about is the left overs. Such as the pile in the picture at the beginning of this post. Those things were piled up in front of the mailbox on our building (remember, these neighbors don’t live in our building, they live in the building next door) when I got home from work one night. And since over on their building there were piles and piles of furniture and boxes, but no signs of any people at all, I presumed that they had left with a truck full of things and were unloading at the other location. Because our mailbox set is near the shared driveway, I figured those were just things that wouldn’t fit on the truck, and they meant to get them on the next trip.

The pile hasn’t moved for over a week.

There’s a bunch of other things (more ceramic planters with plants in them, a weird shaped metal chair, lots of cardboard boxes) still piled up over on the walkway in front of their apartment. I have since seen one of the owners of that building carrying cleaning supplies into the place. I hope that Mr and Mrs Friendly had a conversation with their landlord about the random left behind items over there.

I realize that the stuff left over by our place could be things that our landlady or one of our neighbors in our building agreed to take care of, and they just haven’t been moved. I can certainly imagine the conversation.

Mrs Friendly: “I have no idea where I’m going to put that in the new place!”

Neighbor1: “I thinks it’s beautiful!”

Mrs Friendly: “Do you want it?”

Neighor1: *looks toward her boyfriend who is in the middle of helping Mr Friendly lift heavy piece of furniture into truck* “What do you think? This could go in the corner of the living room.”

Boyfriend: *finishes pushing piece of furniture into truck* “Huh? Oh, yeah, I guess we could do that…”

And slowly a pile accumulates. By the end of the day, everyone’s too tired to deal with it.

I haven’t actually run into anybody to ask.

And I’m kind of glad, because I’m afraid my annoyance will come through and I’ll sound like an old, unhelpful grouch.

On the other hand, feeling grouchy about that motivated me the other night to trim back my roses. Since spring began, they’ve shot a bunch of branches into the porch and walkway. Some branches were getting out into the driveway. If it was annoying me to have to dodge the branches with big thorns, they must be driving some neighbors well past annoyance.

I completely filled up the yard waste bin with branches chopped from my two roses. Now no one has to dodge them, and I will feel less like I’m hurling stones from inside a glass house if I see a neighbor and ask about the pile of things.

Update: Of course, when I come home from work at the end of the day that this posts, the pile is gone.


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About fontfolly

I've loved reading for as long as I can remember. I write fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and nonfiction. I used to publish an anthropomorphic sci-fi/space opera literary fanzine. I attend and work on the staff for several anthropormorphics, anime, and science fiction conventions. I live near Seattle with my wonderful husband, still completely amazed that he puts up with me at all.

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