Tuesday, September 29, 2009

No. 66

Beer: Pretty Things
Date: September 27th, 2009
Place: Bryan's Apartment, Somerville, MA

I haven't had a neighbor in years.

Ignore college. The dorm. The 15 floors of testosterone and drunk and ducks being cleaned and prepared in the sinks. Take that year away, and my premise stands.

Not in Oxford. Not in Atlanta. Not in Durham.

Not since elementary school have I been able to walk down the street to a friend's house to play.

Which isn't to say that I wouldn't love to know my neighbors. On one side we've got a Portuguese family who gives me tomatoes when mine, that they have been critical of, don't grow (rightly so - the criticism pertained to my lack of watering, which has a profound impact on the little guys) and whose arbor makes our neighborhood smell like grape juice.

But even though I know them by site, the older man doesn't recognize me out of the context of in my yard, pulling weeds, surrounded by a rusty fence. I see him at the corner store and smile - but he ignores. And I don't know his name. His wife calls me neighbor.

I don't even know the neighbors on the other side.

Outside of Manhattan, Somerville is the most densely packed neighborhood in America. Thousands and thousands of people all on top of one another. With the exception of our friends from North Carolina who live a couple of miles away, I don't know anyone else in town.

And then a new kid starts at work. Kid in a great way. Young guy. Bryan. Just moved from Manhattan. Scoped out all over town. And moves in 24 houses west of us. Maybe not even that much. We're at 50 Street Name, he's at 118.

So Sunday I packed up a beer (and one for him - a welcome to Somerville gift), walked three minutes, and watched my fantasy team lose to my new neighbor.

Who also happens to be my fantasy football general manager, my co-worker, and for all intents and purposes, my cube mate.

If there happens to be a street fight that breaks out, I know someone who has my back. Or, at least, someone who is close enough to come watch the beat down.

Much like elementary school.

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