Thursday, October 02, 2008


In Which I Misplace My Lucky Life...

I try. I really try to be this nice, amiable, funny guy in my neighborhood, but it never quite plays out that way.

Last night, I was driving home and I saw the girls on the corner. It's the neighborhood girls who congregate near our house after school. If it's warm out, as it was this day, they make a pitcher of lemonade and set up on the corner and have an honest-to-God lemonade stand. I drive home of an afternoon and see them silhouetted against the settling sun and feel like a man in a lucky life. I beep and wave as I go by. Sometimes I stop and buy a cup. Always I try to be nice and amiable and funny. But it never quite plays out that way.

Last night I was driving home and I noticed, standing right by the lemonade girls, an older neighbor girl, young Kay, who has a strong maternal instinct in her, even at 12, and who loves to come and play with the Éclair after school. Almost every day, when she gets off the bus, she makes a beeline for the Eclair, who is invariably waiting on the steps with her mother. Often as not, the Éclair will make more of a fuss about Kay than her own brother and sister. They are thick as thieves, these two, and I often come home to see Kay standing there, like an eldest daughter who never was, with the Éclair hooked on her hip, both of them waving to me.

So there was the familiar silhouette of girl and baby on the corner by the lemonade stand. And I'd had a long day and was glad to be coming home to my lucky life and so I gunned the engine in my car and revved it a bit and roared up to the corner where the lemonade stand was. I screeched to a halt and leaned out the window of my car and yelled, in a crazy foreign accent, calculated to make the girls squeal and laugh. I leaned out my car window, face contorted in a funny, crazy way, my arms outstretched, my fingers grasping at the baby in an outrageous, over-exaggerated "come-here-now" fashion.

"Never mind dee lemon-yade!" I cried, laying the accent on thick, my fingers pointing and gesticulating. "How much for the baby? Geeeve me da baybeee!"

And then the sun was behind a cloud and I realized that I was talking to complete strangers. Not Kay and the Éclair at all, but a small woman and child I had never seen before in my life--new neighbors down the block, it would turn out--gaping at me with matching horrified expressions.

I tried to explain, I really did, but the damage was already done, you know. So I just put the car in gear and raced down the street to my house, hoping to resume my lucky life tomorrow.

Welcome to the neighborhood, lady.

From Somewhere on the Masthead

I wish I had someone like you in my neighborhood. It would never be boring.
I am laughing so hard, that tears are rolling...ROLLING down my cheeks. It has been a long, long week. So thank you....THANK YOU!!!!!!
Hey you'd fit right in to my neighbourhood. We're all nuts! That's hilarious.. I hope your new neighbour gets to know you rather than fear you. :)
Luke, you have gone to the dark side.
You black market baby broker, you.
You have a unique streak of luckiness, MM, it is true. Hey, that's one story you can share at neighborhood events for years.
That...was the funniest thing I've read in a long time. Thanks, you disgusting old pedophile!!!
Oh dear. You can only hope the neighbors are on your side and soften the impression. We have a neighbor who is notoriously grumpy about his lawn. He's lovely otherwise, but the new family who just moved into the neighborhood is convinced he's a serial killer 'cause he yelled at their kid to stay off the lawn. Maybe when he helps them dig their car out of the snow it will turn. But for now he's the neighborhood monster no matter how many of us say he's nice...
You should really let the chattering dentures do all the talking for you. Worked at meetings. We never thought you pedophile, just dentally obsessed.
You didn't say...

did they price the baby?
Funny. Just very funny. Good luck living that one down, MM.
Ohhhhh man, that's like when you go to wave to somebody you know and then you realize you don't know them and it all gets really awkward. Poor MM! One day they'll understand that you're charming, not creepy!
Duuuuude... wow, man, I feel ya. That is *so* something that I would do, and have done similar stunts. That's why they call it a sense of humor and not a law of humor. That's a tough beat, surely.

Unfortunately, I will now be saying "Geeeeve me da baybeee!" for the next week or so. And when my wife yells at me, I will blame you.
lol - i'd say only you, but you so aren't alone in this. and stu's right - "Geeeeve me da baybeee!" is going to figure prominently in my vocabulary for a while - and no one here will have a clue why.
Oh God. That's priceless!
MM, that's priceless. I wish you lived in my neighborhood--I'd be downright normal in comparison. ; }
You have a genuine gift for making readers laugh and wince at the same time.
What you do is hang a Blue Tooth device around your ear and when inappropriate utterances come forth, you pretend you are talking to the phone. Works for me.
@Terry: If you say "Geeeve me da baybeee!" over the phone, is it suddenly appropriate? :D

MM, LOL. You poor thing.
After a few months, they should know that this is normal behavior for you! :) Personally, I just wish I had great neighbors like you.
Hahahahahaaaah! I can only imagine any Welcome to the Neighborhood casseroles will be scrutinized for possible perversions and cast aside uneaten to be on the safe side.
ha - I'll visit you in jail!
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