Single In The Suburbs, Installment 109

After turning down a long-distance date, Sara’s turned her attention to her new home and neighbors.

By Sara Susannah Katz

To read the entire series of articles from the beginning, click here.

hen we last left our writer, she’d been invited to meet Loves To Cook, Doesn’t Want Kids in Indianapolis, but decided to pass in order to deal with her work crisis first. She’s also adjusting to life with new neighbors. Read on…

Sunday, 11:55 a.m.
My neighbors across the street, an elderly couple with no apparent friends or family, haven’t said hello, won’t make eye contact and seem to walk the other way whenever I appear. They own not one but two houses, side by side. Jeremy told me that they bought the house next to them so they wouldn’t have
What are those two old folks up to? Devil worship?
to bother with neighbors. They probably wished they could have bought my house, too. Their other house, the empty one, has 10 windows, and the curtains in every one of them are drawn shut.

As I sit on my porch with my cats and dogs (I did wind up getting a sweet new dog from the shelter), I stare at the empty house across the street and imagine what might be going on inside. I see my neighbors occasionally open the side door, disappear inside, reappear later. What are those two old folks up to? Devil worship? Serial murder à la Dexter? Maybe that’s where they keep their lunatic daughter. Maybe they have wild parties. Maybe I need to stop staring at my neighbors’ house and do some gardening. My roses need pruning.

I’ve invited my friend Patricia here for lunch. Her house is nine times the size of mine; if I lived in a McMansion, she lives in — well, she lives in a real mansion in the suburbs. Patricia is a gentle soul, gracious and even-tempered. I don’t think she’s capable of even thinking mean thoughts, but that doesn’t stop me from projecting them onto her. As she steps through my bungalow door, I imagine she’s thinking that her bathroom is bigger than my house. And maybe she is. But maybe she’s not and I’m just being self-conscious. I understand that this is all part of the transition away from my old circle of married suburban wives to my new life in this charming, scrappy neighborhood.

We are sitting on the porch with iced tea and the curried chicken salad I’d picked up from
This makes it nearly impossible to fully enjoy my front porch.
the local organic foods co-op and are startled by a deafening roar. Great. It’s the old guy across the street with his chain saw (giving some credence to my serial-killer theory, I might add). Probably the worst thing about this neighbor isn’t his utter lack of congeniality (I’m starting to get used to that), it’s the fact that EVERYTHING about him is so loud. He’s got to be 75 years old, but he drives a noisy rumbling El Camino (also known as a mullet car because, like that much beloved hairstyle, it’s short in the front, long in the back). Every other day he’s on his riding mower, and because he doesn’t just have one house but an entire half-block fiefdom, it takes a full day to mow the whole property. If he’s not mowing, he’s blowing or sawing or clipping — all with the loudest power tools available to modern man.

This makes it nearly impossible to fully enjoy my front porch. Patricia and I decide to finish our lunch indoors.

Patricia spies my laptop and asks me to show her my dating profile. Awkward. If she’d been single too, and actively looking for a relationship, I’d have no trouble showing her my dating profile. Heck, I’d give her a crash course in online dating. But she’s not single; she’s stubbornly married (more on that later) and she’d be more like a voyeur than a friend. Yes, Patricia, this is how we pursue romance on my planet. First, we create these things called profiles...

I tell her the Internet is down (is it wrong of me to lie?) and change the subject.

I ask Patricia how her marriage is faring. I can’t believe what she says next.

Sara Susannah Katz is a writer in the Midwest.

Read Single In The Suburbs, Part 110

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