Pocket Park Politics

I can’t lie – there were some, um, “relationship dynamic challenges”  that occurred in the highrise we called home during the majority of our urban days.

You can’t share that many common amenities (and walls,) and never have even a minor disagreement.  Goodness knows there is always that one busybody who LOVES to tattle on the person using the elevator to move furniture without the fire key; and in the city there is bound to be a group of renter kids who seem hell-bent on having one of their Coors Light bottles end up broken in the bottom of the pool if someone doesn’t parent them into less stupidity (yeah that was me,  because don’t jeopardize my pool time.  Like ever.)

Still I have to say that in spite of the barking dogs, squawking parrots, the  occasional waft of weed in the HVAC vents, the creepy dude who threw weird parties on the 2nd floor that STARTED at like 3am, and all of the other little annoyances that cropped up, most folks remained friendly and sort of just let everyone else live their lives without paying too much attention.

In the ‘burbs?  Not so much.

I have distinct memories of my mom leaning on the chain link fence of our childhood back yard, getting (and giving) the news of the neighborhood with the neighbor lady – which person was ticked at which other person for the dog that was going from yard to yard, impregnating the pedigreed masses of the female pooch population  (it really happened – actually our family dog was one of the puppies produced, but I digress,) or WHATEVER the buzz was up and down the block.

There were clicks, and almost fist-fights, and “I heard the Joneses DYED their lawn” type scandals enough to make it easy to understand exactly how the concept for Desperate Housewives came into being.

So last night when Jr and I drove into the subdivision to find a swarm of Police presence, I confess I was rubbernecking all over the pocket park trying to see what I could see.   I attempted to send The Mr out into the road to see if he could shake down neighbors passing by for the dirt (he was in comfy pants already, and having none of it. Party pooper.)

Then it occurred to me – seeing that kind of thing in our old ‘hood would barely have caused a sideways glance as I passed.  We lived in a nice area, but still, police activity was a normal occurrence there.  I might have popped out on to the patio to get a bird’s eye view of whatever was going down while sipping on my martini or something, but the concept of attempting to figure out what was up would never have crossed my mind.

Meanwhile, back in the present, here is “Suburban Keri” plotting to chase down the paper boy next Thursday at the crack of dawn to get a first look at the Enterprise Police Beat column.

Hell I full on tackled The Mr on the patio last summer to keep him from making any noise and alerting the neighbors arguing over a fence with each other to our eavesdropping presence. In contrast,  patio time in the city always involved a polite “here I am on the other side of that sheet metal wall” cough or throat clear so the guys next door didn’t get TOO romantic on the balcony over their late dinner with me practically sitting at the table with  them.

I can’t really figure out where the shift occurred – it seems like there was just so much EVERYTHING going on in the urban heart of it all, that no one really paid attention to almost anything.  Slow things down a bit in the subdivisions and soccer practices, and everyone kind of expects to have the whole damn scoop all the time.


No time to think about it now, I see my neighbor coming up the walk to get the bouquet the florist left with us in their absence…  going to brew some coffee, dig out the Kahlua, and see what’s up around the loop.

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