Last night we heard a gunshot in our quiet little U-shaped neighborhood. It's the kind of small area where everyone is sort of supposed to know everyone and gunshots and sirens make everyone peek out their windows and eventually wander into the street and ask each other if they heard that too. Jam Guy and I decided it must have been a truck backfiring, and forgot about it.
Today I met one of the neighbors for the first time, one of those neighbors who takes it upon himself to fill you in on all the other neighbors' lives. He assured me that it was indeed a gunshot I heard, but nothing to worry about: someone had just found a skunk in their backyard, and was disposing of it.
I tried very hard to look like I heard stuff like this every day.
I think this neighbor really, really wanted to have something to gossip about regarding me and Jam Guy--the new neighbors. For his benefit, I tried to think of something I could pretend to let slip that sounded vaguely scandalous about us, but I couldn't think of anything. I think he was disappointed. We are just not awfully scandalous, Jam Guy and I, particularly on a first impression. I did give him a house tour--he said he'd never been inside our place, and then looked pointedly wistful--and he looked around inside like a detective at a crime scene, and told me our bedroom door is crooked. Otherwise he was very nice.
It is definitely not the city, but I think, as long as I start thinking about what boundaries to erect, it will be nice to have relationships with neighbors again. But I definitely need to figure out some boundaries. Toby helps--he growls at anyone that shows up until Jam Guy or I show him we're friends--but I wonder if I don't need to practice my own growliness. We certainly need a big privacy fence, a very literal boundary, because all of our very kind neighbors can see everything we're doing when we're outside, and it might be nice to be able to run around nekkid in our backyard sometimes, or at least sit out with a book and not feel obliged to be chatty when we feel like being hermitty.