Wednesday, January 18, 2006

These Aren't Knitting Needles, They're Pokers To Gouge Out Your Eyes

Even though it happened a few weeks ago, I couldn't go without telling the story of my encounter with my insane elderly neighbor. While I have great respect and admiration for those in their golden years, I make exceptions for those that are raving lunatics, those that, if I were a waitress at Denny's and she walked in, I would not hesitate to flick a wad of ear wax into her Senior Grand Slam. Besides, I seem to have a psychotic need to tell stories that paint others and/or myself in an unflattering light, sort of like the one about the time I was working at NBC and entertained a bunch of my co-workers in the advertising department that I hardly knew by putting my entire fist into my mouth. See there I go again.

We've lived in this neighborhood for over three years and until now have not had any problems with anyone. So we were surprised when we had some neighbors over and they told us about the difficulties they'd been going through with an elderly woman who lives on the corner, one house away from us. Although she lives alone and has only one car that never leaves the garage, she has apparently laid claim to all curb parking within fifty yards of her house. They told us that their Latina nanny, who parks her car on the street, had been repeatedly harassed by this woman, including being the recipient of some racially slurred notes containing threats to report the nanny to immigration. Now, I've seen this old woman working in her garden, and I can tell you she never looked to me like anyone who would be threatening, except maybe to come over uninvited and bake you up a nice blueberry pie or knit you a sweater that you would never wear.

A few weeks ago those panty wastes over at Adelphia decided to do some work on the cable in our area without telling us, which resulted in losing cable TV and modem service for five whole days which of course sent me into a tailspin and forced me to interact with other humans and parent my children. To Rigel's horror I took to following any Adelphia trucks I saw driving in the area until they stopped at which point I would slap them about the head until they told me when service would be restored. I think I saw my picture posted on the Adelphia website.

On this particular day a truck happened to stop directly in front of our house, and the technician said he was going to personally fix the cable to our house in the next five minutes. It might have been the big butcher knife I was carrying and the slitting motions I was making across my throat that did it, but he seemed very eager to get the job done. I was getting ready to leave on an errand with the girls, but decided to stick around and make sure he was telling the truth. Ten minutes later our cable TV came back on and my modem light started blinking and I felt the blood once again start to course through my veins. My furry claws turned back into hands, my pointy ears were gone and I was a real girl once again!

The girls and I hopped in our van and started to leave, and the Adelphia truck slowed as I was passing him. I thanked him, and then he apologized for not doing it sooner, but he said the woman on the corner was 'crazy' and wouldn't let him on her property to climb the utility pole unless he showed proof that he "worked for the government" but he did it anyway. As he was telling me this story I looked up to see our elderly neighbor walking toward us at a brisk clip, not in a friendly, 'Hey neighbor' kind of way but more of a 'Wait till I sink my partial into your ass!' kind of way. The worker that I was talking to waved and called out 'Happy Holidays' a little too sarcastically.

I saw the old woman raise her hands in what I initially thought was a cheerful salute (hope springs eternal) but then realized that she was GIVING US THE FINGER. WITH BOTH HANDS.

(Say what you will, but there is something downright poetic about seeing an 85-year old woman hoist both her cardigan-clad, thin, veiny arms to flip you the bird.)

The Adelphia guy, apparently having seen one too many Scooby Doo episodes thought the old bag was a phantom and jumped in his van and left me to fend for myself. Here is what took place:

Me (cheerful as can be): Helllloooo!!

Her (Getting a little too close to my van window): That man trespassed on my property! Did you put him up to that?

Me (cheerful as can be): Well, no, he doesn't work for me. He works for Adelphia. He's fixing the cables so that we can all get back online and continue ignoring each other!

Her (excited now, as if she had just witnessed someone fitting their ENTIRE FIST into their mouth): AHA!! So they work for YOU! YOU called them! I see now that you started this whole damn thing! This is all YOUR fault!

Me (just a wee bit less cheerful now): No, you see, they have been working in this area for FIVE DAYS because we have all been without cable. The entire neighborhood. Men in vans. Working. Everywhere. Bad Men.

(She had a pen and paper in her hand and started writing down my license plate number.)

Her: Don't tell me that! I live on the corner and I SEE EVERYTHING and I haven't seen any vans. You're lying! You ARE LYING! YOU called him to fix YOUR stuff! I knew it! THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!!

With this she started really screeching and was extending her arm and waving her craggy finger in my window, so close that she could have reached out and plucked out one of my nose hairs. In hindsight, I wish that I had grabbed that wrinkly appendage, closed the window and drove around the block a few times with her flailing body flapping outside. But I didn't. Instead, I gritted my teeth, and attempted to end the conversation:

Me: Okay! WHATEVA! I guess it's ALL MY FAULT! That's right! ALL MY STINKIN FAULT!! Now, you've got my license plate number so GO CALL THE POLICE! Oh, and HAVE A NICE DAY!

With that I started to slowly drive away, while hearing her screech her parting words:

"UP YOURS!!"

I looked in my rearview mirror to see her, once again, raising both her hands to me in a triumphant, one-fingered salute.

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8 comments:

  1. now, now be nice - you know the old lunatic is probably someone's mother- you would want your moms neighbors to treat her with kindness and compassion if she were running around the 'hood trying to instigate fist fights with anyone should could catch wouldn't you???

    Bewildering!!!!

    How big do you think she was? -- I think you could've taken her in a throw down - besides Kira had your back... well Kiyomi anyways, right??!! Kiyomi would kick ass!!!!! (I would be afraid of her!)

    ...of course "I" would have returned the gesture -- well actually only if I was certain she was a widow - I wouldn't want some old geiser trotting after me the next day to wreak vengenace on my tainted soul for cursing his beloved.

    I don't know M -- I think I will continue to run from my neighbors unless they are under 6 - thats age not height-

    Your bravery and composure in the face of insanity is admirable
    3 cheers for MTM!!!!

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  2. This is very funny, you made me laugh! Thank you.

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  3. I hope I don't become this old woman.

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  4. Goodness, you just reminded me of an old fart that used to live behind us when we first moved to this stupid state. He wouldn't let us play in OUR OWN YARD (my sister and me) and we obliged, well, because he was scary. What is up that woman's ass? Do you want me to beat her up? I'll do it because you set my Camry guy on fire...
    That woman gives the cute ones with the candy in their purses a bad name...

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  5. After thought- you should have told her they do work for you- EVERYONE works for you, (insert evil laugh here) and screeched your tires as you drove off.

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  6. Have there been any flaming bags of dog poo hurled in her general direction yet? Would you like too?

    I think you should be rather proud to be flipped off by the insane elderly.

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  7. This story would go to show that theory of 'only the good die young' may indeed be at least partially true.

    She may live to be 100, the old bat.

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  8. Wow. I was just reading this bird-flipping octagenarian masterpiece when I saw your comment about my neighbors.

    I now officially feel better about said neighbors after reading about the horrors that await you the next time your plumber comes for a visit. This feeling will continue until I realize that my neighbors are hale enough to wield an axe.

    Am loving your blog! Thanks.

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