Saturday, July 5, 2008
I hope Mr. Rogers won't get mad, but it seems we spend a lot of time in other people's neighborhoods, especially on 4th of July.
We like our new neighbors, we really do. There are many, many houses for sale in our neighborhood, and we like open houses, so we've seen the majority of our neighbors' kitchens and bathrooms and bedrooms. We feel like we know most of these people now. Sort of.
Yet we have a strange habit of hanging out in our friend's neighborhoods. We get to know their neighbors, and we manage to get ourselves invited to their neighborhood parties. Usually, we just invite ourselves.
If our current neighborhood had a 4th of July party, maybe we wouldn't have to crash other neighborhood's parties. I'd plan one, but I'm just too booked out now.
When we moved to Bend, our first new neighborhood had a fun family 4th of July picnic with kid's bike races and water balloon tosses. We still crash that party for a beer and a Popsicle, even thought we moved away two years ago. It's a good party. They even have prizes.
Luckily, we've found another neighborhood 4th of July party to crash, too. It features a backyard fire pit for making s'mores, and includes coolers of beer and some good porches with rocking chairs for super sparkler viewing. There's even badminton.
It's pretty easy to find new neighborhood parties. But is it luck, or skill?
I met one of our new 4th of July party families accidentally at the San Francisco Airport several years ago. Here's what happened:
After a delayed flight, I was frantic to check my email at the T-Mobile hot spot, but I was too cheap to pay for minutes. Luckily, a nice man who I'd seen on the plane from Bend, offered me the rest of his minutes.
Turns out he went to college with my best friend's brother in Eugene, Oregon. He knew a bunch of people I went to high school with. So using his leftover minutes was more like borrowing a cup of sugar. It just seemed right.
He and his wife had just moved to Bend too, and they were looking for friends. So we decided right then and there we should have a party when we got home.
Airports are like neighborhoods, sort of.
So I brought my airport friends to our New Year's Eve party, and my husband brought a family he picked up at work. Guess what? Both those families live next door to each other. They were neighbors! They had met on the street once, while bringing in garbage cans.
It's such a small world, when you think about it, and somehow, I always seem to be in the middle of it.
Of course, we suggested they have a neighborhood 4th of July party every year. Of course, they invite us, especially when we remind them, and tell them we'll bring some beer.
We've been trying to get some of the old neighborhood friends to crash this new neighborhood 4th of July party for the past couple of years, but they say they're happy with their own neighborhood. They don't fly much, so they tend to stick to the same old friends, year after year.
Sometimes I feel sorry for the old friends. There are so many people, and so many neighborhoods to try out. If only they were as pushy as us, they'd see how nice it is to crash someone else's neighborhood, especially if there's good food and prizes.
I continue to be on alert at airports, and grocery stores, looking for the next new best friends who might live in friendly neighborhoods with good parties.
And I keep my eye out for Mr. Rogers, just in case. I sure wish he could crash some of our friends' parties...and maybe bring Mr. McFeely with him.