“The Whole Neighborhood Looks Out for You, Paul”

The painting I’m working on has a moon in it. Tonight I wanted to check out something about the real moon for the sake of the painting, so I stood outside my cottage on my open patio, gazing up at the moon with my back to my cottage door, which was only about three feet behind me. It was raining lightly.

After a few minutes, my neighbor, who has a roofed over porch that shelters her from the rain, happened to come outside to smoke a cigarette. Cheryl can be a bit of a wit, and she must have found it funny that I was standing in the rain gazing at the moon…

Cheryl: “Why are you standing in the rain, Paul? Are you lost? You look lost, but never fear: just turn around and you’re sure to sooner or later find your way home.”

Me: “Why thank you so much, Cheryl. That is truly helpful of you.”

Cheryl: “Anytime, Paul, anytime. You must know it’s not just me: the whole neighborhood looks out for you.”

Me: “That’s…um…not quite as reassuring as you might have meant it to be.”

Cheryl:  (Audible giggling).

4 thoughts on ““The Whole Neighborhood Looks Out for You, Paul”

  1. “the whole neighborhood looks out for you.”

    Which, of course, could be another way of saying, “The whole neighborhood is watching you.”

    It could be alarming. Or not.

    But it’s probably just me. Being a Very Private Person I can go for months, or years without speaking to my neighbors and never feel at a loss. I can always be counted on to give a heartfelt “Hi” to my next-door neighbors when the chance pops up because it’s the “neighborly” thing to do. I even know their first names!

    But once out into the Greater Neighborhood Area, no. I’ll stick to my knitting and they can stick to theirs. To have a neighbor tell me what yours told you would scare the shit out of me.

    What next? Black helicopters?

    • Cheryl was making up the bit about the whole neighborhood looking out for me. Although I’m on good terms with Cheryl, I hardly know most of my neighbors. I kind of agree with you, though, that it could be scary if I did indeed have neighbors who took too much of an interest in me.

      • Good one.

        I had an experience with a funny but unsettling joke recently. I was in the hospital for a small heart operation (two slightly narrowed arteries). I’d mentioned some anxiety about it, and they wanted to be sure, so they sent the resident psych to check me out. He “travelled” with his secretary. He was a very big man, 6.4, as big as me, a crew cut, a scary face and a very deep voice.

        But he gave me a very positive evaluation, so I felt good. And he ended by saying, to me sitting there in my hospital PJs: “Don’t worry, you’re as sane as myself.”
        I said “thank you!”
        He said in his deep voice: “You don’t know me!”

        I wish I had a video of my reaction, for I can’t remember it. Since then I find it dang funny, but I also think it’s a *very* risky joke to tell somebody in a hospital just before an operation, at their weakest.

        Oh, and when the secretary said bye to me alone, I whispered to her: “Is he really quite sane?!”
        She said of course he was only joking and I confirmed that I knew. But I felt I needed to hint at the riskiness of that joke…

        I think he is surely a good person and a great psych, but also that he enjoys just a leeeeettle bit to scare the living daylights out of people by being 6.4 and dang macho looking.

  2. I was reading much more into it than was there for, I guess, “conversational” effect. I’ve had “the neighborhood” on my mind lately because it’s the election season for our city council. Some of my neighbors are of the “all taxes are evil” persuasion, to the point of flying those yellow tea party snake flags on their front porches. I understand their position, but I don’t mind paying higher taxes if an improved urban landscape is a verifiable result.

    For some of them it seems that an outcome where nothing positive happens is the best possible outcome. That means that the “invisible hand of the free market” is at work, making sure that they prosper while the rest of us go to hell.

    I think the best service such a political…”philosophy”…can offer is to point out where tax dollars are being wasted, services duplicated, fraud being committed on the public dime.

    “Gimme mine and fuck you” is not a political philosophy. Some might be tempted to equate it with anarchy and such like, but it ain’t. It’s just “gimme mine and fuck you.”

    I have no time for these folks, not one second.

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