The type of neighborhood I live in is one of those close-knit communities where everyone knows everyone (as I’ve previously covered in my Christmas drama in a ‘Peer Pressure’ blog).
This means that I have the type of neighbors who are very acutely and actively invested about knowing everything about everyone, as well. You know the type – peering through the curtains at the slightest sign of movement outside. Gardening in all weather conditions just so they can be on the look-out for anything happening. Gossiping with the maillady when she comes around (how that woman gets any mail delivered is beyond me).
And I fucking hate it.
Because outside of just watching and analyzing – these people also feel the need to actually comment on their findings. TO ME. With all the awkwardness that can ensue at any such moment. And they know. They KNOW. They knoooooow. Everything. I feel so self-conscious about leaving my house under their judgmental glares. Feel their prying eyes burn right into my private and dating life. And my dinner habits. Yes. Really. (I realize it’s probably me with the issues, not them, but hey, who cares!)
Take for instance the month after my break-up. I come home to find my neighbor planting some new trees in his front yard thingy. And he literally goes:
‘Zeg. Die witte wagen zien we niet echt meer tegenwoordig he?’ (So, we don’t see that white car around much anymore eh?)
I just barely swallowed back my words:
Yes mister neighbor man. You’re painfully correct. Mostly because that car belonged to my EX who’s obviously no longer around. Thanks for noticing.
The explosion in my head must not’ve been visible enough though. Because it was only mere weeks later when he waved me down again. To comment on the beautiful BMW that had now graced my driveway for a couple of nights.
Yes mister neighbor man. I tried the rebound thing. Didn’t pan out. No need to tell me that that car won’t be spotted again either.
And then came December. The lonely month. The lockdown month. And a thorough three months since any car whatsoever had graced my driveway. Which they obviously noticed – as when we got to talking when I brought them a package that had been delivered to my house.
‘Rustig bij jou ook zo, met de lockdown toch. Komt niemand meer over de vloer, he? Hier ook hoor. Alleen familie. Verschrikkelijk’ (Quiet at your place too right, with the lockdown and all? Nobody coming around anymore eh? Same here, only family. It’s terrible)
Yes madam neighbor lady. I’m the queen of lockdown, thank you for noticing. I’ll make sure that the next car is pretty enough for your liking, surely. If there ever is one, again.
But all of that is fine. It’s fine, really. I get THAT. Honestly.
It’s a Christian town and I’m an unmarried, single lady living alone with all kinds of riff-raff entering my house with curtains that are (as I recently discovered) way too see through when it’s dark and the lights inside are on. You can see EVERYTHING that goes on in my house (as I may have mentioned before, because I’m SHOOK at that knowledge. Whoops).
Yesterday, however, took the cake when it comes to neighborly attentions.
Because somehow I have the WORST of luck in timing my exits to the storage unit right next to my front door, that holds my freezer (and thus access to all my fried foods and ice-creams and the like) and the discard bin for empty bottles and such.
And somehow EVERY time I make my way there – one of my direct neighbors is outside to spot me doing so. I feel like a burglar, escaping with my box of eggrolls or a pizza. I felt like a monster every time my neighbor spotted me tote out yet another couple of empty bottles (even when they weren’t alcohol). And yesterday my neighbor caught me not once, but twice in procuring a tub of Ben and Jerries Half-Baked that I made my way through while binging Bridgerton on Netflix.
‘Lekker hoor! Laat het weer smaken!’ (Delicious! Enjoy, again!) he called to me as he jumped into his car the second time, making sure I knew HE KNEW.
I suppose that’s one way of keeping my New Years Resolutions and losing weight – being neighbored into staying indoors and not going out for ice-cream lest I be judged.
(No worries though, I made sure that tub of Ben and Jerries won’t get me busted again. Omnomnom.)