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taking a new view of the hood

People ask me all the time what I like the best about Oregon. Well I have only been here for two months but I have to say some of the best moments have been with our new neighbors. You see, in Irvine all the kids grew up together and the parents hung out together and everyone knew everyone. And in Brooklyn there were block parties and cookouts and everyone just sitting on the brownstone steps and talking to each other. But in SF, "neighbor" literally meant the person I see go into the house next door. Yeah we talked over the fence twice a year and waved at each other when we were circling for parking spots. We even chatted on the corner while we stared at the ambulance or police lights down the street, trying to be just nosey enough to see what was going on. But never in my 10 years, in my most recent apartment, did I step one foot into my neighbor's house. And they weren’t invited into mine. Oh we had parties but none of the guests were actually our neighbors. We invited each other in passing but that was just code for - warning, I am having a party, please don’t call the cops on us for being loud. And you know, all of this was just fine with me.

Add paragraph text hBut something different happened while I was away. Charles met the neighbors. In fact the welcoming party came by once when I was in the shower. And then one neighbor’s dog escaped. It ran right past Charles’ office during a con call and he ran after it. To his surprise half the valley was looking for her and they all showed up to thank him. And when I was on another trip Charles had dinner at the other neighbor’s house. You see he is from CT and has that neighborly thing down. I have that city wave and keep driving thing mastered.

So finally I knew it was our turn. And I was freaked out! Our floors weren’t even laid and the books were in boxes and the electric stove is my arch nemesis! How was I going to throw a party like the ones we had in SF? It is raining! How can we smoke a pork shoulder!?!?! And the floors! They must be scrubbed. Well Charles got up and followed my neurotic cleaning directions and I decided to cook nothing and bought it all from Safeway. Because I remembered at the last minute. I moved to Oregon, where life is simple and the neighbors just expect a smile.

So I learned to be NeighborLee. I took my snooty Paleo AIP appetizer ass down a few notches. I enjoyed cherry cheesecake and coffee while we talked books, neighbors, curtains and remodeling. I was given the most beautiful bouquet of flowers I have never seen before. I was also given homemade grape jelly, freezer strawberry jam and a bottle of Riesling. And we laughed and laughed and laughed. And I was relaxed and got to actually enjoy myself. I think I kinda like NeighborLee. I’m getting to know her. Seems the country might just be her speed.

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