Last Wednesday, I planned on spending my night like I spend every weekday night. I eat dinner, I hang out with my kid and put him to bed, and then I turn into one of the oldest, tiredest, laziest pieces of shit this side of the Mississippi. However, my exciting plans were suddenly thwarted by a mid-day text from my landlord who suggested (demanded) that I attend my neighborhood homeowners meeting to see what was going on in the neighborhood, as he wouldn’t be able to attend. I was a little apprehensive for a couple reasons.
First, I was really looking forward to not doing anything all night, so this would obviously make that difficult. Secondly, while it may be a good opportunity to meet some neighbors, I wasn’t really sure I wanted to get all that tight with any of my neighbors. I’m on the wave and smile level with my neighbors, and I’m comfortable with that being the full extent of my neighborly interaction for now. I don’t need to attend a meeting so I can end up signed up for various neighborhood picnics and all sorts of other community shit.
But, my landlord insisted, and I figured that it could be an interesting experience in furthering myself as a functioning adult. I mean, I wasn’t sure what they even talked about at a homeowners meeting, and maybe it was crucial for my existence in the neighborhood. Turns out, it wasn’t, but it definitely had its moments. This meeting was one of those classic glimpses into the future, and while each day puts you closer and closer to being a full blown grown man, I’m going to hold onto every last bit of immaturity and lack of fucks as long as possible. This is something I’m really not ready for, and this meeting proved to be a case study of people who had committed to a whole other level of adulthood, and it was unsettling to say the least.
I was the youngest attendee by at least 10-15 years, and I could sense the feeling from the others that I was fairly out of place, a point driven home by a man in his fifties screaming “You have to own a home to be here!” He didn’t actually say it, but he said it with his eyes. Once I had nestled into my chair, along with roughly 20 percent of the neighborhood homeowners, because apparently no one else gives a shit, the meeting started with a bang. At least their version of a bang, recapping last year’s ultra-successful and fun neighborhood night out picnic. They had a chili cook-off, not to mention a police car and fire truck, and holy shit were these people basking in the glory of how much fun it was. I felt a little left out when I was the only one who didn’t shit my pants laughing from the joke about Colleen winning the chili cook-off every year. I remembered that weekend fondly, as well. Not because I participated in a wonderfully sober neighborhood family event, but because that weekend was my alumni trip, and around the time they were judging the chili, I was puking on the number 12 tee box.
After the recap of the raging good times they had in the past year, they started with complaints. A few weeks ago, I wrote discussing my recent behavior change in the form of complaining about speeding cars. This meeting showed me that I have much to learn about being a crotchety adult who complains about speeders. The outrage at the rolling of stop signs and above the speed limit driving blew me away; the police officer who was taking questions might as well have had a serial killer on the loose, because these angry citizens were demanding that this angry run of negligent driving be stopped. This culminated in a homeowner standing up and giving his detailed strategy of how he parks his big truck by a stop sign so drivers are forced to stop. This guy got a fucking standing ovation like he just cured cancer and caught the Zodiac killer on the same day. I’ve reached the point where speeding in a neighborhood bothers me somewhat, but I’m not setting up amateur speed traps either.
While I was still trying to comprehend if I was truly adult enough to feel murderous towards speeders, they moved full speed ahead to discussing the neighborhood crime of the century. Apparently some menace to society had performed a heinous act of bending the neighborhood basketball hoops down the middle of the pole. I was truly impressed, as it must have taken great effort to go above and beyond the normal vandalism of just breaking the rim. But while I was admiring the dedication to belligerent crime, these homeowners were out for blood.
“Do we have any leads on who did it?”
“Should we form a neighborhood watch?”
And my personal favorite: “It makes me feel uneasy and not safe.”
Fortunately, the soon-to-be fixed basketball courts will be safe, because a neighbor informed us that an ex-Marine in his sixties lives in the house facing them, and he had sworn to keep watch over the court. The neighbors were thrilled that they now have the only concrete basketball court in America with military security. I excused myself once they started discussing volunteering for things such as “Moms with Muffins,” and I drove home deeply upset by what I had just witnessed.
That was full blown commitment to adulthood. It really proved to be a blessing in disguise, much like a near-death experience. I mean, in the same sense that almost dying will make you live life to the fullest, seeing what I was on my way to becoming has really opened my eyes and made me realize that despite work and family commitments, I need to hold onto every damn bit of youth that I can. Don’t fall into the path of a boring homeowner, because before you know it you’re sitting on your porch drinking iced tea and screaming at speeders and teenagers..
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