The Street Where I Live

The street where I live?

Imagine if Charles Dickens described a typical working class neighborhood, but in the Midwest. And in 2021. Then, Thomas Kincaid paints the street, but he’s been disillusioned and is in a bad mood.

That’s what a painting of my street would look like.

I’m just here, on my street and mostly in my bedroom. Nearly always.

I did have a few outings in the past week or so.

But first I want to talk about our street.

Our street is an island unto itself.

We’re not part of a connected neighborhood, we are just a cul-de-sac with about 40 houses obviously built by the same builder back in 1952. All of the houses are brick, mostly cape cod, but there are a handful of squatty ranches.

We have a park behind our side of the street. I use the term “park” loosely. What we have behind us is a large swath of land that appears to have last been attended to during the time of the first moon landing. Not that I’m complaining. I like looking out my backyard into a forest.

backyard forest

I’m really not sure what is behind the houses on the other side of the street.

I know there isn’t a street back there or anything. I think their backyards have the same view as ours, but their view isn’t of a park.

Anyway, we have one neighbor who stands out.

I’ve become obsessed with checking the house 3 doors down and across the street. You know, the side next to the “not park”.

In the evenings and at night, the other houses are lit up in various degrees. They all either have a soft golden glow from light bulbs or the blue glow of a television. I can see one upstairs window that has a dark purple glow. At first, I assumed it must be a black light in a teenager’s bedroom, but then I remembered it’s not 1976. Still, not out of the ordinary.

Then, there is the house 3 doors down and across the street.

They have curtains up, but unless they’re made from lead, I don’t think curtains would help much.

The light that comes from their living room is like the blaze of a thousand suns.

It looks bright and clinical like they’re setting up an operating room. I don’t think I could explain how odd this looks. Also, it looks goddamn uncomfortable. I mean, I feel like I have to shade my eyes a little from 3 doors down. And across the street. I can’t imagine what the light must be like in their living room.

I’m actually mildly concerned about them. We don’t talk to neighbors, we keep to ourselves. I want to go introduce myself to them and explain about regular lamps and light bulbs. But during the day, holy shit, my eyesight is bad enough. I don’t need sunburned retinas.

Okay, so I got that out of the way. I figured since I’ve been obsessing about the lighting, I might as well tell you about the absurdly bright house in my neighborhood.

I keep trying to come up with reasons why you’d have your house lit up like that. I am sure there is a good reason. I just can’t think of a good reason. I can only think up weird reasons.

And that took a lot longer than I thought.

I’ll just tell you about one of my outings now, I’ll save the trips to the vet and the hospital for later.

My birthday was last week and since we’re still isolating, we aren’t getting together with family the way we do for birthdays.

Instead, this year, Randy and I met my parents and my baby sister at a local cemetery for a walk.

Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum is stunningly beautiful, regardless of time of year. It’s also huge, so we could walk together, a safe distance apart, and avoid the other humans.

We walked around a lake and over a little stone bridge to an island. There were swans in the lake and turtles resting on rocks at the edge of the lake. Other than the mausoleums and grave stones, the place looks like a fairy tale.

We startled some turtles and they jumped into the lake. We stood at the edge of the water and watched the swans glide along. At one point, their necks intertwined.

And things quickly progressed from there. It’s spring time.

The time of year when a young swan’s fancy turns to…well, the swan right next to him.

Mom: Are they fighting?

Me: Nooooo, mom. No. I don’t think they’re fighting.

Baby sister: Oh for god’s sake. Let’s go.

Me: What? It’s spring time. It’s natural.

Baby sister: C’mon. They’re just right there, out in the open.

Me: Do we need to have a talk about the birds and the bees? I mean, there’s no better time. We have an actual bird as a visual aid.

Turns out, mom and baby sister had no interest in watching live action swan porn, so we turned to leave.

We noticed how very much swan and goose poop there was on that little island. So, walking back, instead of taking in the gorgeous, if somewhat gothic, scenery, we were skipping around goose poop. Or swan poop. I’m not an expert in bird poop. Other than they seem to do a lot of pooping.

The best part, however, was the present my sister gave me. She painted a picture of Alan Rickman on a flower pot for me. My sister is so talented and always comes up with the most unique gifts.

Since I can’t violate my neighbor’s privacy and show you a picture of the house that glows like it’s guiding ships to the harbor, I will instead share a picture of my new flower pot.

flower pot

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    • I don’t know that I’ve ever seen people go in or out of that house. But I haven’t really been paying attention. Other than at night when the house is all ablaze. So odd.

  • Aliens? Plant growers? Full magnitude sun worshipers/tanners? I guess I don’t have to ask why your father was absent from the walk about.
    It’s been a seriously bad 3 months here, but I’m finally emerging from my sob fest. Glad you’re here to make me smile again.

  • I keep my apartment very brightly lit at all times, 100w bulbs in every fixture. Darkness while I’m trying to live (and not sleep) makes me feel claustrophobic, especially at dusk when the bright light from outdoors is waning and making my apartment feel darker and darker, like the walls are closing in on me.

    There ya go. A not (very) weird reason.

  • Could well be grow lights. My kitchen window is lit like that because I have a special plant light in it for my succulents.
    It’s also seed starting season for veg gardens so maybe they’ve got an indoor set up to start their food plants. The new LED plant lights give off a LOT of bright light (we’ve got a little portable green house set up in our dining room and man is that sucker bright with the lights hanging in it)

  • When I was learning electronics, I used very bright lighting to see the schematics and the tiny parts I had to solder, so maybe?
    We have a pond a ways up the road, the Old Mill Pond, that is part of the Christian Camp, and it’s the perfect daily walk for me, about 45 minutes round trip, and the road to it winds up next to the creek and over a couple of very old bridges.
    The geese that hang out on the pond sometimes come up onto the dam, and leave piles of goose poop, so I know what you’re describing.
    Last year, a couple of the geese came up onto the dam while I was walking on it and got pissy and hissed at me.
    I whipped out my phone and took their picture, and now (a month later) they were “internet goose of the week” on the Professional Left Podcast website.
    The flower pot is awesome.

    • Geese can be MEAN. The park we used to live near had a ton of them and we got hissed at quite a few times…they never ended up on the internet though. I mean, as far as I know.

  • Very entertaining. I started following you on Twitter and just linked to the youtube of your standup – very, very funny. I look forward to more!!!

  • Indeed, your sister is a talented artist, your neighbor’s habits seem a little odd, and I love that you reminded me of Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum, where my husband and I often took walks when we lived in Cincinnati. Thank you.

  • Wow. I mean, WOW! Your sister definitely is talented! But then so are you! Loved this read today.
    And wondering now what on earth could be going on in that house? Have they tapped into nuclear power? Is it getting away from them? Will there be a smoking hole?!
    Isn’t imagination fun?
    Whenever we walk around our goose-poop strewn parks, the Beach Boys’ ‘Little Deuce Coupe’ always poops…erm…POPS into my head. But I’ve changed the words: Little Goose Poop.

By Michelle


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