Making Friends

“I think the neighbors are communists,” I tell my husband as I glance out the kitchen window.

“Communists? There hasn’t been mention of the Red Scare for over 50 years,” my husband says in his best ‘I’m-an-expert-on-everything-because-I-watch-the-history-channel’ voice.

“That’s exactly how this kind of thing spreads; it creeps up when you’re least expecting it. Look at all the twerking that is going around and what it did to poor Miley Cyrus,” I say.

“You still don’t know what ‘twerking’ is, do you?” my husband asks dryly.

“No, not really,” I admit.

“The only thing ‘creeping’ around here is you. What makes you think the neighbors are communists anyway?” he asks.

I pull my nose away from the window it’s been plastered to in an attempt to see the neighbors as they pull out of their garage. “Well, they leave their trash can out all the time; I don’t think they ever pick up the dog poop in their backyard and they painted their house that horrible shade of green.”

“We really need to revisit the topic of you branching out and getting a hobby,” my husband tells me.

“I don’t need a hobby, I need to keep my eye on these people,” I insist.

“You sure you don’t want to learn to play the mountain dulcimer? There’s a class at the community center,” he says mockingly.

“You have to bring your own mountain dulcimer to enroll in that class, Maestro. I looked into it after our last discussion of ‘why a grown woman should not stand in her back yard and throw walnuts at squirrels.’ I thought the soothing tones of the mountain dulcimer would calm me, but turns out mountain dulcimers are hard to come by,” I say.

The truth of the matter? I don’t really think the neighbors are communists, nor would I care if they happened to actually be communists. The problem: the neighbors don’t like me and I simply cannot stand for that. I find myself utterly charming, albeit a bit neurotic, but I call that one of my endearing, little quirks. I have tried everything to get these people to like me and still I get the cold shoulder.

“The neighbors hate me!” I whine.

“They don’t hate you. I think you might be overreacting,” my husband says.

“I don’t overreact,” I state emphatically.

He laughs at me. “You once assaulted a piece of living room furniture because the grocery store was out of spaghetti squash.”

“That doesn’t count! You know squash is an integral part of the majority of my culinary endeavors!” I yell.

“You flipped over the coffee table and said you would never cook again.” He can’t remember the place where we were married but he remembers this?!

I need to redirect this conversation quickly. “I’m going to take the neighbors some cookies I baked.”

“But you have no idea when they will be back,” he says. Why must my husband be so logical?

“I’m going to station myself strategically in the bushes until they come home, then I’ll pop out with cookies and we will become lifelong friends, exchanging recipes and comparing our children in a passive-aggressive manner.” Now who’s logical?

“Doesn’t lying in wait to ambush the neighbors with cookies seem a bit weird?” my husband asks.

“Of course not! Everyone knows hiding in the neighbor’s bushes ceases to be creepy with the addition of baked goods.” My husband has a lot to learn about making friends in the suburbs.

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