As readers of this little blog know, this summer I have been spending much time at Mom and Dad’s house.
Out of love and necessity. Love, because, well, I’m lucky enough to have parents I love. Despite differing political and social views, we manage to keep our relationship first and foremost. Which is incredible, because during this difficult time in my life, I need both of them. Not only for love and emotional support, but also because I am limited in the amount of time I can go up and down my stairs and their home provides a respite, a place of calm and beauty and safety throughout my day. It’s a gift that I do not and will not take for granted. We use their garage as a living room when it rains. We use the driveway to soak up the sun when it’s nice. And then, occasionally, my dad mows little paths in the yard for mom and I to walk along and take some exercise.
Side bar—I love the phrase, “Take some exercise.” I think as we move into the new house I’m going to add it to my regularly scheduled linguistic tree. I’m sure you’ll all be waiting with bated breath to see how it goes.
Spending time in my parent’s neighborhood has allowed met to get to re-know it in an intimate way. I’ve gotten to see the houses of the kids who are on swim team, their parents proudly displaying that that their home is the abode of a feared Pebble Creek Shark. Pebble Creek Sharks being the members our swim team. I have literally no idea whether of not our swim team is feared or vaunted or if anyone takes any pride in them. But I do know where they live their parent’s have signs.
And the signs don’t stop there. There are swing sets for younger kids, which I know a swing set isn’t a sign, but it’s something. There are little talisman admonishing people for allowing their dogs to do business in other people’s yards. It’s the picture of a neighborhood alive. A golf cart riddled thoroughfare keeping a corner of upper middle class life going in this country. My only fear is that too many of them are going to support Trump. Not that I’ve seen any evidence supporting that theory, but I fear that the people in the neighborhood are more of the “polite” Trump supporters who believe that one can vote their paycheck or the economy or whatever reason they come up with and avoid the moral consequences that come along with the making of that decision.
I could be wrong. Please God, let me be wrong.
Of all the signs in the neighborhood, there are ones that intrigue me the most. I’ve seen them before, but seeing them together has really made me me wonder what the F is happening. It’s a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in something else entirely.
The first sign is simple, commonplace. We’ve all seen it a million times.
“Drive like your Kids Live Here.”
That’s what is says. And it makes sense. We should always drive like our kids are roaming the street or that there’s a baby in the back of a car. But especially, ESPECIALLY in a neighborhood, where blacktops act like fields of dreams and at any moment a stray ball can lead to a lifetime of tragedy and regret.
I love those signs. And in my new home, I’m seriously considering putting one up, right next to my Joe Biden and Love Wins signs. You know, just take the temperature of the place.
The second sign in the neighborhood is the one that intrigues me the most. They are identical to the Drive like Your Kids Live Here sign. Same layout, same intention, same every thing. Except instead of saying Kids, it says, “Drive like your PETS Live Here.”
I would say the ratio of Kids to Pets signs is about 2 to 1. As in 2 pets to 1 kid.
What on earth is this telling me about my neighbors, other than the fact that I think they might care about little puppy Rufus more than they do about little baby Stephen. Like why on earth would they need a reminder about their Golden Retriever when a child is out there wandering about the middle of the road? Like who is that person?
“Watch for kids!”
“Fuck the kids! Watch for Fido!"
Also, what pets are out there? Are they talking only about dogs? Why aren’t these dogs on leashes? They certainly don’t care that much about the stray neighborhood cats? You know those survivalists that live off the grid. The hobo cats. My family has an off the grid cat. I love this little guy. He was from our next door neighbor, but when they moved to the beach he decided to stay. I imagine it was it was a joint decision. A duo effort, with the orange cat being like, look:
“I like the beach, but come on, that shit gets sandy. You have any idea how much of my day I’m going to have to lick and clean myself just to be at some sort of neutral? Plus the heat and the shedding? My tongue is going to be covered in ass hair from day to night and while that might be fun some of the time, come on….all of the time? I’m not in my 30s anymore. Let’s take a look at the Nelson’s across the street. They are super gullible, they’ve already for cats so we know they have food. The other neighbors have a garden. And once a week I’ll slaughter some mice and rabbits to let them know how much I appreciate them. And look at all the protection I’ve got. They’ve got signs all around this bitch telling people to slow down not hit me. So yeah, you go to the beach, let me stay here, and in a couple of years either you come back or I’m in someone else’s house. It’s all good.”
Not that I really care about this too much. What people put in their yards are their own business. To each their own. We just need to admit it’s a little weird that Pets have the same or more emotional heft as children when it comes to our driving needs. And what that says about us as people.
And maybe it's just that we're awesome.