True Story©… The Death of the Party
Sometimes all it takes to ruin a situation is the situation itself…
We have been in
this house for almost 17 months now. I
am a decent neighbor; I KEEP the grass cut, my dogs don’t run loose in the neighborhood,
I pull my trash cans up from the street as soon as they have been collected and
I don’t shoot in the air on holidays.
… but I don’t particularly like people, so the BEST neighborly thing I do is minding my own fucking business and leaving people alone.
My wife, on the
other hand, is a peopler and has a gregariousness that would cause me to cower
into my mancave and lock the door.
Compromise: when she decides to entertain, I will make sure the house is clean while I agree to be at least cordial and attempt to refrain from cursing around children. No promises on that last one.
In that we are now
in a neighborhood of people around our age who have children around the age of
the youngest member of our household, her social flag flies higher. Her happening to have a family member four houses
down from us helps.
When things began to warm up early three weeks ago (Thanks Obama!), she secretly conspired with the neighborhood womenfolk to throw a block party. The grill(s) would be fired and rolling, music would be bumping and the kids would be playing in the street making all the squealing-for-no-damned-fucking-reason noise that kids make. If I’m being honest, it is something I never might have imagined being a part of growing up. Our direct next door neighbor on one side, the ladies direct across from us, the Latinx family down the block who always have the LIT-ass parties in their backyard and of course my wife’s cousin were all in on the plan.
She informed me
early in the week OF the party, explaining that I would need to move the grill
to the front yard (Phlip note: I HATE
that when there is an option in the back yard) and arrange my speakers in
the garage out into the driveway.
Naturally, this means I would be in charge of both the music and at least our provided portion of the food. So far, so (not) good…
So Saturday comes… I get up at 5:40am to shower and prepare for
my haircut, then proceed to go acquire said haircut at 7am.
Back in the house at 8am, I wrestle the grill down to the front and locate enough speaker wire to run the sounds out to the front.
Bear in mind, I cut my front yard on Monday and Friday, so it was freshly beautimous not for this party but because I am fucking obsessed.
11:30am, I light
the grill in expectance that people will be hungry at the noon neighborhood
block party. The neighborhood kids are
outside on their bikes and playing basketball in my driveway. Squealing for no reason has begun. What the fuck, no one is even being
I tell them they have run of my driveway, but to keep those bicycles off of my lawn.
have pulled up their lawn chairs and are seated conversing in their driveways
watching the kids play in the street with their beverages of choice. I keep reminding the kids not to ride them
gotdamn bikes on my grass.
As I am done cooking for my part, I begin milling about the block and speaking to all of the other adults, declining beverage offers because I don’t drink beer anymore and it is clearly too early for liquor.
… there is always that one hating-ass neighbor…
She comes out from three houses down across the street. She was clearly invited to participate; have a plate and enjoy the neighborhood fellowship. Does she accept the goodwill? No™, instead she complains that the music is too loud and the children are blocking traffic, despite the fact that any potential traffic is either coming to the party or sees a bunch of children playing in the street and goes around. I make no promises to correct either.
What I do is pull
up a folding lawn chair of my own and I finally sit down in front of my car and
just watch the scenery, see the kids having a grand old time.
One thing I have learned, ironically applicable to kids and old folks, is that they don’t fuckin listen. Lady from across the street continued to go about to all the adults complaining about the music and the kids while the kids continued to ride them damn bikes directly across the edge of my yard, I could see a small path forming next to my mailbox and my blood was beginning to boil.
I needed to do something…
I quietly wandered off from the party and found some old fireworks from a couple of Independence Days ago. Alerting nobody and making sure the gate in my back yard was locked from the inside, I started lighting off the loudest of them. All projectiles were sent the opposite direction of the party, so as to not fall on anyone and – more importantly – to be less distinguishable from gunfire to the people out front unaware that anyone even HAD fireworks.
If I learned
nothing from summer 2001, when people shot fireworks EVERY Friday and Saturday from
Juneteenth to Labor Day and beyond, it is that when one person starts shooting
off fireworks, a whole neighborhood will. It isn't even dark yet!
Have I mentioned that fireworks are illegal in North Carolina?
At this point, I have a neighbor in full “bitch-and-gripe” mode, children clearly blocking traffic, music that is drawing complaints from above-named neighbor and now the whole south side of Greensboro showing off their fireworks. With what I have now set in motion, it is now only a matter of time before--…
… yep, the cops came…
By now, I have stopped the music with no one noticing and I am back in my chair in my driveway, watching as five police officers are walking around the party sending people back to their own homes. My grill was returned to my back yard a couple of hours before and no one on the block saw ME shooting fireworks behind a six-foot privacy fence in the back. Plausible deniability. And learning from past interactions     with the police, I am not at all interested in talking to them about shit. When they asked me to kindly clear the set, I explained that I was on my own property and that was that.
And to think, I might have let this roll on all night if not for those damned kids on my lawn.