Monday, October 10, 2005

no deal neal

I don’t really like the guy next door. We call him No Deal Neal. He has sure been moving a lot of stuff around in and from his apartment and storage space, every night about 7 PM he starts moving large things from the back of his El Camino. He'll make noise until about 11 PM, and we can't figure out what he is doing to cause such a rucus. Not that we want to be nosey about what our neighbors are doing or what their personal life is about. I definately understand and respect anonymity in a community as close as ours; we have a certain amount of private space, but shared common areas like the back yard and walkways.

When we first moved in here, Neal’s wife Linda lived next-door, in a sparsely but tastefully decorated duplex. She was an attractive 40 something woman, who was active and friendly, and knew the boundaries of keeping pleasantries brief. We speculated she was a recently divorced liberated woman who was enjoying a new lease on life. For two weeks, we said our hi’s and by’s as we left for work and returned to our respective apartments in the evenings, and made small talk on the sidewalk in front of our residences. My kitchen has a windowed breakfast area that looks out onto the neighborhood intersection, and Linda would greet my cats whenever she was coming or going. Everything seemed suspiciously normal and nice, but at the block barbeque, my suspicions were confirmed.

Linda was an hour late to the Barbeque because she had to work that Saturday, but we walked over when it was scheduled to start and got to know Neal at that time. We didn’t make the connection that he was Linda’s husband; we hadn’t even seen or met him before. Even Alice, my old lady friend and neighbor, didn’t really know who he was, and she knew everything. I had no idea she was even married. I thought Neal was kind of a jerk; it was like pulling teeth engaging him in conversation that didn’t turn negative or critical. Linda joined our group, and she made a comment to him “Well, these are your new neighbors.” We all didn’t know what she meant, and after some private speculating we decided that they must be in some sort of divorce, and he is having a hard time letting go. He was in the house, but she was in the apartment, but she was going to get the house and he was going to move into the apartment. The annoying thing is, is that he’s been moving stuff every night for about three weeks now, banging in and out of his apartment, against our walls, we hear this loud piercing banging and cannot figure out for the life of us what he’s doing over there. We imagine he’s bringing in speakers, or containers, or a few hammers, something big and heavy and just drops it wherever he wants it. We have only seen Linda twice since the barbeque, and in both instances she didn’t seem as if she was staying there anymore.

The classy and sparse décor yielded to a wood paneled particleboard entertainment center that housed a big television, and corkboards with a variety of small notes and business cards randomly stuck throughout the living room. Ol’ No Deal wasn’t too friendly, and puts out a creepy and weird vibe. I mean, I’m not complaining if that’s all he does. If he isn’t manufacturing meth or beating his family I guess I don’t mind having him for a neighbor. He’s kind of funny because you can tell from his body language he has little patience and gets annoyed easily. I just hope he finishes moving stuff in and out. It’s not clear what he is moving, and from where to where.

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