I wish it wasn't true - there's something about being cool enough to be included in the loop of someone else's business feels good to me. Sorry? I don't feel like I can sincerely say I'm sorry if I have no intention of stopping my love affair of reading seedy magazines, gathering around the workplace water-cooler, and trolling Facebook (I will never cease to be amazed at how few people really utilize the privacy settings on Facebook. Now I know all your secretsssssss).
It's one of those things that makes me a horrible person, but I'm going to go out on a limb and propose that everyone has such a thing. What's yours, if you're so inclined to share, you should put that in the comments. Own it, yo.
And so it is that I am obsessed with the fence next door. That fence has a story - one that I have not been privy to first hand, but have garnered from neighborhood whispers. Which makes it true gossip in that authentic gossip never seems to come from the actual source, but rather from a cousin of a brother of a friend's aunt. Thus, it seems appropriate to share it with you all here. Obviously, the authenticity of the details is up for question, but I've for the basics down. Grain of salt and all that y'all.
"My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it's pretty serious."
Back in the day, the neighborhood fenced in their backyards, all laced together with one endlessly connected chain-link creation. Most yards still have this original fence, much as it is in dire need of a little TLC. Weather and wear have taken their toll and so really if you're coming over to visit me, I hope you're up to date on your tetanus vaccine. Whatever, for our purposes, the yard is contained enough that we can let Mac out and he can do his business without supervision. Good 'nuf.
Then there's the house on the corner. The house that is directly next to ours. Owned by a young couple, they began a journey together to make it the home in which they would one day raise their family. Now, because it was a corner house, the yard and it's chain-link fence, had a side that reached the street, and afforded the couple zero privacy in their backyard. So it was decided that they would put up a 6' wooden privacy fence.
They spoke to the Mister about it, as this would require removing the twenty feet of chain-link fencing that our yards shared. Since they were putting up another fence, and our yard would still be self-contained, the Mister saw no issue and gave them his blessing to upgrade their fence. The fence was put up, and all was good in the world.
A few months later, the lady of the couple came home from work. Upon which she found her spouse had decided to invite a lady friend of his over to visit. A visit which included an activity other than dinner and drinks. I think you see where I'm going with this. The lady of the couple was obviously less than pleased with this development, and so she promptly left. For good.
She moved out in the middle of the night, and under the cover of darkness, she took all her belongings with her. Apparently, she owned the fence.
Yes folks, one day the Mister woke up and looked out his window to see nothing but wooden fence posts next door. And also that his yard was suddenly not completely fenced in. Which was unfortunate, because just the day before he had invited his brand new girlfriend over for dinner, and encouraged her to bring her doberman-mix puppy along, because the yard was fenced in and he could burn off some energy tearing around the back lawn.
As it turned out, Mac did okay on a long leash, and rather immediately took a liking to an old rickety table that had been placed out on the porch, so it turned out fine in that respect.
Meanwhile, with the couple next door at odds in their relationship, they weren't exactly keeping up with the home they shared, and foreclosure snuck up on them quickly. Mac and I (and Bubba) moved in with the Mister, and we enjoyed essentially living next to a field (the bank that took over the house decided mowing the lawn is for losers), though we did not enjoy the regularity of how often one of us had to run out and retrieve either Mac or Bubba from among the tall grasses and veritable tick-utopia.
In the midst of just trying to get our own lives in order, we didn't have the time or money to put into fixing the fence. Or maybe we were jut lazy - what I know for sure is that our eventual solution was to buy a roll of snow-fencing and use zip-ties to re-secure the boundaries of our backyard. You know snow-fencing; that day-glo orange plastic crap that constructions sites use to keep people out of drying concrete? As you can imagine, such a janky fix drove our property value just straight up. Yay sarcasm. It sort of worked though.
Yes. Pure class. That was our yard.
Two summers later Mac figured out the divine secrets of jumping over snow-fencing. It only took two instances of letting Mac out the backdoor, then turning to look out the window and see him running around the FRONT yard for us to set aside the funds needed for twenty feet of chain-link fencing and the labor to install it.
Meanwhile, the house next door was still in foreclosure, and the fenceposts and tall grasses remained.
This spring we noted that the for-sale sign was gone from the house next door. Could it be? We finally had neighbors again. Maybe they would be cool. Maybe they would hang out with us. Maybe they would finally pull out the fence posts and end the eye-sore we had been treated to for years. Excited is not the right word for the feels that The Mister and I shared over the amount of possibility that neighbors presented.
Finally one day we caught them while they were outside working on their porch. They were twenty-somethings! They were friendly! They regularly mowed their lawn! And so after enthusiastically introducing ourselves, The Mister and I retired that evening to thoughts of our new best friends next door.
Two days later, with no prior mention, the wooden privacy fence was back up. We haven't seen them since. Apparently we made a great impression.
And so after years of being in the know about next door and all the juicy gossip therein, we've been unceremoniously cut out of the loop. It all came full circle, and I suppose I deserve it. I'd say I've learned my lesson, but recently our neighborhood joined this social network called "Nextdoor," which is like Facebook just for neighborhoods. The posts from our crazy neighborhood watch coordinator, and the catty stay at home moms are all FASCINATING.
Are you a gossip hound? Has it ever come back to bite you? Tell me in the comments!