Annoying the world. One person at a time.

Today I met my neighbor for the third time in three years. I’m not sure why I don’t see her more often. After our brief reunification, I decided that she really needs to move into my head. She came over wanting to see how my security doors were installed.
“Now this doesn’t make much sense. The hinges are on the outside. That’s just not where my mind goes when I think of security.”
Crap, I think. She’s right. Why haven’t I noticed that in the 3 years they’ve been installed? Well, it doesn’t matter anyway. My burglar came in through my window. I doubt people would stand outside a house with a screwdriver when they can just knock a window AC unit in and climb through.
“Let’s go look at the front door, too” I offer, hoping the outside hinges were an anomaly. Nope. We stand outside, chatting for a few more minutes. Somehow the conversation goes from security doors to homelessness to home remodeling and meth labs, AC BTUs that won’t blow our old electric wiring, belly dancing to treadmills and exercise. My favorite topic. Unsolicited, she offers advice.
“I just moved a treadmill into my house. Craig’s List. That’s all you need to do.”
“Well, you should see my house. Nothing more can fit in there.”
“It’s a lifestyle choice. Put it in front of the TV. You either do it or you don’t do it.”
I just then notice the lettering on her T-shirt. I try not to stare at women’s chests. Lord knows we experience that enough from men without our sisters doing it too. Her shirt says “Annoying the world. One person at a time.” I believe it. Meanwhile, a man who I assume she knows is poking around her front door. She follows my eyes.
“Hey. HEY!!! What are you doing?” She screams across the street.
“Uh oh hey yeah I’m looking for a guy. Uh, a Hispanic guy and yay-high.” He motions with his hand, kind of ducking and dancing back and forth on his feet. Real descriptive.
“Yeah well that guy doesn’t live there.”
“Uh sorry about that. My bad.” Man shuffles off down the street. Neighbor looks back at me.
“I think I love you.” I tell her. Bold. Confident. Guts. I’ve learned the hard way not to talk to people like that.
“I’m a single woman. I know who is supposed to be on my street.”
Shoot. I’m falling short. I have no idea who is currently living in the house directly to the west of me. I ask her.
“Oh yeah. Great guy. He’s subletting from Mark. You know the people with the two big pit bulls?”
Yes. Yes I remember the pit bulls. They hunted me in my yard one day. One stood next to me, quiet, unmoving. I remember I stood just as still, not breathing, the fear emanating off of me, seeing my life flash before my eyes before his owner called him off of me.
“Yeah he has a daughter. Real nice people. And that guy….” She points across the street. “He thought my yard was giving him weeds and he mowed my lawn and put weed killer in it.”
Nice. I need to spend more time at home. Perhaps I could get free lawn care if I let my weeds grow long enough.
My neighbor continues to chat on and I start to drift away…lifestyle choice…single woman…confidence and boldness. I am hit with the sudden realization that I’m boxing myself in. Metaphorically speaking. Nothing else can fit in my house because I’ve crammed my house full with all sorts of “furniture” (excuses and notions about what life should be like for a person in my circumstances). Putting a treadmill in front of my TV because I’ve got too much furniture in my living room is really the least of my issues. And the woman from across the street, the one who is annoying the world one person at a time, is unraveling my tightly coiled mindset in my yard, right in front of my insecure security door.
It is amazing how one mundane conversation that takes place in less than five minutes can shine light on my dark thought processes about who I am, what my life is about, and what I willing to do and not do and for what reasons I make those choices. Not unlike the doctor’s office last week where my excuses about my inability to take care of myself weakly rolled off my tongue and floated away, dissipating immediately, like popped soap bubbles. Convicted is how I’ve been feeling lately, in most areas of my life. I need this feeling to keep building momentum.

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