You Know You’re of an Age When

on saturday i realized that c and i have become todd and margo.* trust me, we never intended it to happen, it just did.

we love our backyard and we use our backyard more than probably anyone on the block. especially on a nice saturday evening. and we used to have a lot more privacy in our backyard when we had a large tree that would block out the neighbors behind us, but the tree had to come down and what we planted in place is going to take a few years to grow.

meanwhile, the neighbors behind us continue to have children, mostly boys, who never seem to grow old enough to play in the street. or, the parents are so protective that they won’t let the kids play in the street. or, we’re just intolerant of normal kids because we don’t have kids at home anymore. or, we just want some peace to enjoy our cocktails on a lovely saturday evening.

so last saturday, we were enjoying cocktails on the terrace (ha ha, wonky patio) and the kids behind us were out playing baseball in their yard. this meant the dog couldn’t come out since she spends the entire time yelling at them to let her in on the game. (they won’t let her because she cheats) so, as we sat there with our new fountain going, our fire burning and some lovely music, and tried to be patient with the fact that the neighbor kids were out. their parents were out also enjoying a cocktail but not paying attention to the kids and having a shouting conversation with their neighbor next door.

then one ball flew over into our yard. minutes later, another ball flew over. soon an third, then a fourth, a fifth and finally a sixth. thankfully, the baseball stopped because the kids were out of balls. then came the expectation that we would return the balls to the children tout de suite. both the parents’ and kids’ eyes were on us. neither one of us moved. (so you don’t think we’re total jerks, we constantly toss balls of all persuasion over the fence)

and that’s when, with our cocktails in hand, bubbling fountain and lovely music we had the quintessential todd and margo exchange about annoying neighbors and annoying kids. ugh.

the kids politely asked for us to return their balls and c said sure, but could they turn the way they were playing baseball so that they would hit the balls into the yard next to them instead of ours. (in fairness, they could easily retrieve the balls from the yard to the side without climbing a fence.)

everybody remembers that one old man or old lady on the block who was just grumbly about kids in their yard, or kids in the street, or kids anywhere. we had just become those people.

i scrambled around the yard to retrieve balls, instructed by one of the boys to the location of even more balls that had taken up residence in our yard, until our yard was swept clean. the balls were returned and the kids said a polite thank you and then went back to playing baseball, this time hitting toward the yard next to them. we went back to our lovely evening, laughing about being todd and margo.

but i really don’t want to be todd and marge and i really don’t want to be the neighbor the kids remember as being the jerk.

so the next time they’re out and i’d rather have quiet, i’ll try to remember that they’ll be gone soon, hopefully a lot sooner than i will. then they’ll be plenty of quiet for everyone.

*todd and margo are the snotty, childless next door neighbors in the christmas vacation movie who are just too cool for christmas.


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