Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right…

I’m not a bad neighbor. I park where I’m supposed to park. My yard looks nice. I don’t have raucous parties.* I believe I must have racked up some raucous-neighbor karma in a past life. Perhaps I emptied my chamberpot too oft upon some poor sir’s head. Maybe I let my cows wander off my idyllic pastoral farm and consume the entirety of my neighbor’s bumper crop of alfalfa. Mayhap I parked my buggy on the wrong dusty patch.

This is why I am surrounded now.

Normally you’d find me whining about Thug Life, but frankly, and somewhat disappointingly, they’ve been pretty quiet all summer. Move over Thug Life, there’s a new sheriff in town.

Sorority Row** moved in last winter and we didn’t see much of them for months except for the results of their inept parking. Our end of the parking lot is quite narrow. We all have assigned spaces, two per condo unit. SR’s and their friends managed to park in the space between the parked cars – the space allotted for things like pulling your car out or in so you can PARK or GO SOMEWHERE. For the night our parking lot looked like the back fields of a Phish concert.

I’ve met the main Sister. She approached me on my way to get the mail early in the summer. She owns the condo and was absolutely appalled that nobody maintains her yard for her. And she couldn’t believe there was so much junk in the gutters. I mentioned that the grass was cut by the association…and that since we live surrounded by water maples with their biological whirligigs, we’re pretty much at the mercy of the winds, guttorially speaking. She sniffed and adjusted her enormous Gucci sunglasses with equally enormous Frito*** French mani nails. She’s an interior decorator and can’t be bothered to understand the complicated mechanisms by which people PLANT and MAINTAIN plants. I did offer to give her some cuttings of my flowers and things.

Aside from a few personal interactions with her, my opinion of her and her cadre stems from the following: overheard conversations from her patio which is about fifteen unobstructed feet from my bedroom balcony, her and her friends’ parking habits or lack thereof, the smells of cigarette smoke (homemade and…otherwise), and assorted other overheard/overseen activities that may not mean anything by themselves but strung together form the sort of person I have decided, at the age of 33, that I just cannot suffer.

I’m hard pressed to put this into words. They’re the sort of people who start acting like douchebags if you ask them to please not park in your parking spot. They are the sort of people who feel a specific vapid kind of entitlement that I don’t understand. They face the world with a lazy disdain, believing everything should be easy and about them. I tried to feel better about her when she told me her wee extra-barky dog was a rescue but that fizzled the first time she and her friends sat on the patio smoking all night and carrying on a loud conversation about not wanting to take care of one of their boyfriend’s kid because, “I mean, shit, it’s not MY kid.”

To sum up: Sorority Row is by no means as universally obnoxious as Thug Life has been. I’ve probably misjudged her and her friends seven ways to Sunday. But last night, as they came on the patio at 12:15, mere minutes after I’d finally fallen asleep after the last round of Smoke, Drink, Holler, and as I slammed the balcony sliding door shut with perhaps a little more force than was absolutely necessary, I did feel completely justified in my hasty generalizations of her character and nature.

*I do have raucous parties but I keep them inside. Also, my idea of ‘raucous’ includes rousing games of Catchphrase and everybody going home at 11 pm.

** I know somebody is going to freak out because they feel I’m somehow stereotyping sorority girls or unfairly describing one household’s dirty laundry as a summation of all households including Greek-affiliated girls. I assure you, I have many dear friends of the Greek ilk. My college had some ridiculously high number of students in fraternities or sororities – like 75% or something, despite it being a school of 900. If you’re one of my friends, you probably understand what I mean when I say, “The neighbors are THOSE kind of sorority girl…”

*** Do other people call them that? When women get those fake nails that are quite long and square and look like Fritos corn chips? Or is that just me…?



  1. Yes, you are the first person to describe nails as fritos. Brilliant, really, and I will use the word and give proper credit, my dear Sara OBT.

    Which leads me to the following question: What do you call someone who gets a pedi with black and white stripes like a horizontal UPC code? All I’m coming up with is one who spends money to look trashy. . .

  2. Neighbors everywhere seem to suck theses days. Do you guys want to join us on our modern commune in the country when we finally give up trying to cooperate with complete strangers?

    Also, I never called them “Frito nails,” but I always thought they looked like Fritos.

  3. I’ll call them Fritos now!
    And I know JUST the girls of which you speak. Their long lost “sisters” lived near me at the old house. 🙂 I love their tendency to say out loud, often, how they are better than this that or the other. I often wanted to tell them, “If you have to SAY you are better than that, then you are, in fact, not.”

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