Real Life vs. The Blogosphere

The world’s a strange place. Connected beyond imagination, our real lives involve separation and loneliness.

When I was a child, I’d visit my neighbors. The old woman around the corner was a round, loud person with a slight, soft-spoken husband. He puttered around their yard and house, repairing and fixing and amusing himself. She’d invite me in to their homespun, soft-furnitured living room and insist I eat the cookies she’d just made.

They kept a dog or two. Whenever we played outside in our backyard, the dogs would bark. Sure enough, after a few rounds of yip-yip-yip, we’d hear her screech, “Skipper! Quiet!” I could imitate her tone and inflection; still can.

Nowadays, my neighbors are more reclusive. I still try to visit them. I plan a block party each summer. But, it’s different. It’s isolated. It’s even a bit cold.

One time, bearing the Christmas cookie plate I make and gift every year, I rang my neighbors who never come out and socialize. They’d just installed a door camera, I noted. I could hear it whirring as the focus changed, probably recording me. Their teenage daughters’ cars were out front. Their interior lights were on. I could hear their talking before I rang. Yet, no one answered.

Resisting my inner child’s urge to do something less kind, I left the plate on their porch and went back home.

It’s different. It’s rude.

I feel a similar confusion and slight affront where my writing’s concerned. Here, on my blog, I post every day. I write about my thoughts and feelings, my ideas, my odd story plots, my poetry, and -most vulnerably- my depression.

Occasionally, I share what I write to my Facebook page. Like, my personal one that everyone who is my ‘friend’ can read. All of my neighbors are ‘friends,’ although I happen to know they don’t read what I write. Only when I announce I’m having a baby do about a fourth of my ‘friends’ (130ish) click that little Like.

The rest of the time, about 30 people respond.

If I write something depressive, about 8.

In real life, sometimes 1 or 2 come up and say something.

I wonder what things would have been like if I’d become an adult fifty years ago, or even twenty. My mom would tell me that her mom’s neighbors met every morning for coffee. My grandmother said she and the kids of her childhood played jacks together. My husband’s grandmother sat outside with the other mothers in their complex at college, while their children all played in the central courtyard.

Different times. Warmer times.

This age allows me an outlet I wouldn’t have had fifty years ago, or even twenty. Instead of living in the isolation of my two-story house with only the dishes and laundry for company, I have you all.

But, I often wonder, why don’t I have those who are closer? Why don’t they notice? Why don’t they care?

Maybe it’s the cookies.

bbh-singapore-qrMhK_0cPAs-unsplash

—————-

Here’s what I wrote this week:

Wednesday, January 15: Examined the differences between the sexes in “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus (and I’m Adrift in Space).”

Thursday, January 16: Throwback to how to write poetry with “A Muse, The Blues, Some Clues -AKA How to Write Poetry.”

Friday, January 17: Posted the winners of this week’s “Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest.” Congratulations to AnneMichael, and Rob.

Saturday, January 18: Announced the 55th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is what paradise looks like to you. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, January 19: “A Small Protest,” in response to Carrot Ranch’s prompt.

Also, “How Much is That Poem in the Window?,” in response to Crispina Kemp’s prompt photo.

Monday, January 20: An inspirational quote from Almost Iowa.

Tuesday, January 21: Poemed “As I Lay, Here.”

Wednesday, January 22: This post, plus “The Island Getaway, a Continued Story (My Part).”

I also published a bit on my motherhood site. I wrote “Did You Go Swimming Today? and Other Post-Delivery Fallacies” and “Short, Sweet, Sleep.”

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Photo Credit: BBH Singapore

I’m Not Soliciting, Ma’am…

When we moved into our first house, pregnant with our first child, smiling with the ignorance of ones about to find out how much life cost; we thought mowing the lawn and covering the swamp cooler would be our biggest issues.

Little did we know what lay in wait.

I speak of …solicitors.

The bedroom community we moved to had passed a city ordinance banning door-to-door sales. Word soon reached us, however, that the various companies who bothered everybody in that fashion threatened a lawsuit based on Freedom of Speech. The city reversed their law.

Thus opened the floodgates.

No, the city informed us residents, they couldn’t stop the salesmen. Yes, they also said, we could call the police if the solicitors did not respect our requests. I remember thinking the whole thing a ridiculous idea.

Ridiculous, until I had my first doorbell-ringer. And second. And third. And…. you get the idea. Annoying, relentless, annoying, etc. I’ve never liked salespeople and have hated selling things to people ever since I tried to earn wrapping paper points in elementary school by hitting up my neighbors.

But I’m a nice person. Even with phone solicitors, I try to treat people as human beings. I rarely open the door to yell at the intruders (like some neighbors have bragged), listen to a bit of a spiel then slam the door (also bragged about), or tell the poor lawn treatment guy exactly where he can get off (yep; they were proud of that one, too). For the most part, the humans respond in kind and walk off to politely bother someone else.

There are, as in any story, The Exceptions.

In that first neighborhood I lived in, as a first-time mom, just experiencing nap schedules for the first time, I posted a sign on our door (next to the No Soliciting one, thank you very much). It read: Baby Sleeping, Please Knock. I even included a tiny drawing of a slumbering baby for the less-literate visitors.

Not ten minutes after successfully putting my son to sleep, the bell rang. I barreled angrily to the door, my button having literally been pushed. There stood a woman of young adulthood years carrying some pamphlet for some thing she was selling. She started right in on her sales pitch, even through my Look of Death. And, believe me, my Look can melt metal.

I interrupted several times to tell her she’d ignored my sign. No effect. I didn’t appreciate anyone waking my baby. No effect. She needed to leave; NOW. No effect. I don’t know how, but I finally convinced her to shove off. I don’t think she heard a word I said.

And so, to my complete surprise, I used our wired telephone device to call the police and complain. Besides knowing the local police didn’t have much to do during the day, I also knew that several of my neighbors had young children sleeping.

I know these people need to make a buck. I know that my lawn might need maintenance, I might want to hear about God, I may have wasps’ nests under the eaves, I should consider solar panels while there’s a tax break, and the local drill team could use funds for all those sequins. As far as I can tell, though, the only reason I need to consider a home security system is to see which home security system company is at the door AGAIN to try and sell me one.

…Which is my second-worst experience with a salesman. Good job, Jerk from Vivint. You’ve guaranteed, by insulting my intelligence and judgment with your little snide comments at the end of your sales pitch, that I will never never never never consider your company.

So, how about you guys? Are door-to-door sales a universal problem? Have you had any horrible experiences? Please tell!

No Soliciting

—————-

Sally Smith from just around the block read what I wrote last week; so did your other neighbor, Bob Gibs. Wouldn’t you like to consider my offer as well?:
Wednesday, May 29: We intelligently complained about classical literature in “Is Classic Literature All It’s Hyped up to Be?.”

Thursday, May 30: Nothing.

Friday, May 31: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Trent!

Saturday, June 1: Announced the 28th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is Summer (or Winter) Vacation. PLEASE ENTER! Tell your friends! Tell your enemies!

Sunday, June 2: “Maybelle Annabelle Lee,” in response to Carrot Ranch’s prompt.

Monday, June 3: An ‘inspirational’ quote by John Lithgow.

Tuesday, June 4: “Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-Five.”

Wednesday, June 5: Today.

I also posted a bit at my motherhood site. I wrote “Why Give Teachers Presents?” and “A Chauffeur Mother’s Prayer.”

 

Photo Credit: A sign one of my relatives has on her house. 🙂

Christmas Cookie Limericks

There once was a mom in the ‘burbs
Who thought, for her neighbors, to serve
A plate full of treats;
She filled cookie sheets
With stars, bars, and fudge squares superb.

20181221_235533

Once baked, cooled; then frosted and stored,
The mom looked with pride at her hoard.
“Don’t eat them!” she warned;
Then, her advice, scorned –
Her snack-taking not aboveboard.

20181223_104046

Thus laden with cookies in hand,
She followed her gifting program.
Though many, afraid
Of free calories, stayed
Inside while they spied from their door-cam.

20181223_151538

Reckon You’re My Neighbor

board-broken-builder-209235

Windstorms were frequent visitors to the valley; at least, they had been as long as Beck’s and Kirk’s families remembered. The only thing more frequent than wind, in fact, was their petty neighbor disputes:

Kirk called the police on Beck for some fireworks.

Beck’s wife blamed Kirk’s kids for broken gate slats.

And everyone said Kirk’s dog was just plain yappy.

But the day after the panel blew down between their yards, Beck showed up, right at Kirk’s door. “Reckon you could use a hand with that there rotten post,” was all he said.

And they got to work.

 

Carrot Ranch Entry