Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pride of Ownership

On any given day, our neighborhood maintains the steady hum of industry. No, we don't butt up against factories or major thoroughfares. But come 7am, the streets around us are buzzing with the sounds of landscapers, painters, installers and contractors. Shortly comes the smell of churning laundry and freshly cut grass, soon followed by the timed cadence of sprinklers sounding off on their morning rotation. I live for all these sights and sounds.

Many mornings, I'm out front taking it all in. I'll find any excuse to move the car, water the grass or retrieve a newspaper that failed to hit it's target just so I won't miss out. There is nothing I love more than to open the garage door early on a Saturday and see the neighborhood already at work. I'll walk out front with my morning cup, just before beginning a project, circling the front perimeter of our own home, watering, inspecting, planning, day dreaming. Nerdy? I'm unabashedly so.

Just today I worked away in my little home office on the corner, staring out at the adjacent house that got a shiny new garage door. I also watched the painters finish up the trim on the house directly across from us, while another neighbor got their quarterly visit from the local window cleaner. By late afternoon, the gardeners were hard at work on the house in back of us, trimming and cutting, blowing and watering to manicured perfection.

Finally, comes evening. The sounds of trucks and machines eventually fade out into the night, but they are quickly replaced by the friendly and familiar cackle of the evening meet and greet. As people wheel their cans out to the curb for the next day's trash pick up, it's not uncommon to see them stand out in the middle of the street and catch up on the day. They compliment one another the new flowers that line the walkway or exchange tips on lawn care. Once in a while, they motion to one another to come inside, anxious to show off some new work completed inside the house. There are evenings we stand out on the drive and participate. Other times though, it's nice to stand back and watch neighbors being neighbors and realize we're a part of something beyond our own front door. These are the days I really feel a kinship with my street mates.

Then there are the older gentlemen who have recently started a sort of walking club. I can't help but want to throw on my tweed cap and join them. Maybe someday they'll invite me along. I watched tonight I as they paraded past only to stop and admire the work on our neighbor's renovation. They eventually caught me on their second lap just to chat me up about the dining table I'm refinishing out in our garage. I'm a bit of a curiosity I think, this short little gal who moved in just two years ago, full of pride, wheeling wheelbarrows full of dirt, fixing sprinklers, painting fences, sodding the lawn, staining tabletops. I kind of like that I am.

I always think back to the lawnmower dance scene in She's Having a Baby. The humor is not lost on me. It's a tongue in cheek daydream resisting the kind of suburbia portrait I've just painted. And while growing up I always imagined myself as the Kevin Bacon character, fighting for the edge and urban pace, this evening while talking about wood grains and stains with my elder neighborhood advisers, I realized I'm exactly right where I belong.


Albertina || MimosaLane said...

sounds like a fun and friendly neighborhood. I love that movie...wao hadn't thought of it in a while. Always love Kevin bacon.

Erin | Holtwood Hipster said...

Yeah, most of our neighbors have been here for over 20 years. There are at least 3 that surround our house who have been here since it was built in the 60's. As newbie homeowners, we have learned so much from them!

Andaiye said...

I love suburbia...80s bike shorts? Not so much :)....that dance scene was adorable.

Kristen said...

Sounds like a great neighborhood. It will probably be a great place to raise a family in as well. I grew up in the epitome of suburbia. I spent pretty much all of my teens dreaming of living somewhere urban, insisting I'd be gone the first chance I got. I just bought a house in the same town I grew up in. Every opportunity that arose for me to leave never worked out, and I grew to appreciate a lot of the little things I overlooked as a kid.

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