As I stood watering the small flowerbed by my mailbox, I felt an irritating tingle in my left shoulder. It wasn’t poor circulation or a sudden rash from a chigger bite (see glamour shot above). To confirm my suspicions, I rotated my neck, owl style, and looked behind me. A stuper (short, once more, for a gregariously stupid person) rapidly approached, leaving me no time to take cover. My little voice said, ‘drop the hose and sprint full speed down the driveway.’ But my reasoning mind reminded me of the foolishness of such a feat; I wore sandals and my two, large dogs eagerly awaited my arrival behind the entry gate. They take great pride in their well honed ability to trot in a carefully calculated crisscross pattern in front of me when I run, barking gleefully while they trip me up. Too late. My nosy neighbor, Mike, arrived. He announced,
“I think the Dutton’s place is going into foreclosure.”
Keeping my head down, I continued to water while edging toward my gate. He continued speaking,
“What happened to your red pick-up? I don’t see it anymore.”
“It’s around here somewhere,” I replied unhelpfully.
“You hear the music from the Jones’ place yesterday? I called the cops to come out and put a stop to it.” Mike rocked back and forth on his heels, truly proud of his humanitarian effort.
“What?” I asked, turning toward him, hose in hand. “The band was practicing at three o’clock on a Saturday afternoon. Their music was awesome. They weren’t disturbing anyone. ”
“Yeah, well, you know, I’m a good neighbor, but that kind of stuff isn’t tolerated around here.”
I am always astonished at how idiots pretend to be instant spokespersons on behalf of the world around them. Mike said,
“You know the kinds of guys in bands; druggies and degenerates. Hey!”
“Oh, I am sorry!” I said, aiming the spewing hose water on Mike’s pants. “My hands are so slippery when wet.”
I have listened to Mike on numerous occasions, speaking unkindly of neighbors, offering too much personal information, then demanding the same in return. So the “hosing down” was long overdue.
Legal, readily available tools to stave off stupidity, such as a hose or other garden implement, are not always at our disposal, so it’s important to be able to deal with nosy neighbors’ inanity without losing our sanity. Here are some suggestions:
- Run away while screaming like a banshee. That’ll give them something legit to talk about and possibly make them reconsider approaching you;
- Try a reverse assault; ask questions and talk relentlessly until the stuper drops from sheer exhaustion. Of course, the downside is that you may drop from exhaustion first. This remedy is to be used only by those with colossal stamina for such encounters;
- Start sneezing uncontrollably and directly at the stuper-in-question, throw in a few cough fits in between for added emphasis and if really motivated, feign imminent nausea; and
- Ask them to pay into the neighborhood fund, explaining that you’ll be asking for money on a regular basis for neighborhood emergencies. If this one doesn’t keep them away, nothing will.