True Story©… Watching The Neighborhood


  Most of the time, I mind my own damned business.  Sure, my eyes are open and my head is on a swivel as I walk around my neighborhood three times a day but that is more for loose dogs and (now) kidnappers.

I have learned here recently as this past Monday that my neighbors are watching or noticing me as I walk about.  There is the family on the corner that adopted a little dog named Duke.  His hair is similar to Shaggy Thunder, so they asked who my groomer was.  There are the kids that catch the bus oddly late and the lady with two dogs who is always interested in how my miles I clock a day.

Those people are normal, as in I see them daily, sometimes multiple times.  Otherwise, though, there are other neighbors that I have NEVER seen outside in over two years now.  Yes, I know they come and go because I do notice cars in and out of driveways but I never see PEOPLE coming and going.
… until last Thursday.

Down at the bottom of the hill as I was coming back up my last three blocks of my evening walk, a little old lady was having a whale of a time bringing her trash can down a steep driveway.  Being a gentleman and in need of image rehabilitation, I offered her a hand with it.

One problem…  She wanted none of my help.


Me: “Can I help you with that?”

Old Lady: “Help me with what?”

Me: “That trash can, let me get that for you.”

Old Lady: “WHERE YOU FROM, FOO?!!?”

Me: “My name is Phillip, I live up at the top of the hill there, and—-...”

Old Lady: “I’on KNOW you, WHY YOU REACHIN’!?”

Me: “Reaching, huh?”


It was too late.  This little old lady who is physically smaller than my twelve year old was when she was ten had already upped a pistol bigger than even I might normally carry.
Needless to say, I didn’t waste ONE second continuing the conversation.  Instead, I ran for my fuckin life.

Friday on my noon walk, I had to steel myself to walk down her block again and she was on the porch reading her paper and apologized.  We spoke for a few minutes after I dragged her cans back up to the end of her driveway and she thanked me, saying that she owed me a favor some day.  I didn’t particularly know in that moment if I would ever desire to call in that favor…

Boy was I wrong…

Monday, I was off for some mental health/PTO burnup time and went on my walk earlier than usual…  I left my house and went east, circling back to return from the west.  Three miles later, I am down at the other end of my street, sweating like a whore in church despite the 39 degree temperature and I am approached by a DIFFERENT old lady attending to Christmas-izing her front garden.

[Phlip note: yes, my neighborhood is, in fact, full of retirees]


Old Lady: “Good morning, young man.”

Me: “G’morning to you as well.”

Old Lady: “I see you out here a lot.”

Me: “Every day, yep!”

Old Lady: “You’ve lost a lot of weight.”

Me: “Over 60 pounds in 16 months.”

Old Lady: “Did you have, like, some kind of surgery for it?”

Me: “Haha, no…  Just hard work.”

Old Lady: “We’ll I don’t want to slow you down while you’re exercising.  You have a great day.”

Me: “You too.”


A block and a half later, I was seated on my porch to cool off before walking into the warm house and couldn’t stop thinking about what had just happened.
“SURGERY?!!? I am busting my ass two or three hours a day five days a week!”  and then “asking me about some muhfuggin surgery, people who lose weight that fast get to looking all gaunt and shit.  Look at my neck and arms, this shit all natural.”
In my head, I had constructed a world wherein I had no clue if this woman had insulted or complimented me, but knowing how hard I work to do this shit, I took it as disrespect.  Without a voice of reason, I jumped straight to “what I’mma do about this” instead of talking myself down.

Wait, I have a gangsta-ass favor to call in…  I walked straight out the house and down the hill.
My new friend was on her porch with her coffee…


Old Lady: “Trash day is Friday, you don’t need to come until Thursday evening.”

Me: “Oh, I know.”

Old Lady: “Okay, I just wanted–...”

Me: “I need that favor.”

Old Lady: “Already?  What’s the matter, baby?”


I explained to her what had just happened to me, where it happened and who did it.  I replayed the whole conversation and injected how it made me feel and how bothered I had been by it.


Old Lady: “Say no more…  I’ll take care of this.”

Me: “Thank you.”

Old Lady: “No problem.”


Okay, so with my efforts, I am nearing the physical build of a 1990s NFL running back.  I would understand if a grown man chose to pull a pistol on me rather than square up, so a little old lady doing so makes more sense.  Luckily the situation was diffused, but apparently her drawing down on me had less to do with physical imposition than it did with her apparently being Yosemite Sam’s mother or some shit.
It is 1:40pm…  Now I am in the garage lifting weights, door wide open.  I hear, down the block, some yelling and then SEVERAL shots fired.  I hear a car tearing ass up the street and blowing the horn as it swung the corner.  It was black Mercedes E-Class usually situated in Old Lady #1’s driveway.

What the fuck have I done caused, and how soon before Woodpenis comes to talk to me about it?
In order to keep my eyes on the comings and goings about my house, I moved from the bench to the exercise bike.  I stayed on it for an hour before deciding that whatever beef I had probably (and quite ignorantly and shenanigously) set in motion was in the past.

I MIGHT be inclined to worry that my actions in creating previously unfathomable crime in this otherwise quiet neighborhood might be damning to property values, but I remember how ridiculous shit got when property taxes fuckin DOUBLED from my first year in the house to the second.
That is a cross I will bear.


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