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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Stinky Room

I now know why people move to East Moofongong, New Hampshire in a cabin with no television set, no furniture, no place to shit...

...and no neighbors.

Yesterday morning, at 6:55am in the pouring, cold rain, I was screamed at by an overweight, blonde woman who was wearing black stretchpants and some kind of small trash bag on her head. I had my two dogs with me, and, in my right hand I was clutching a bag full of their combined feces.

"HEY, (my name)!"

I was standing across the street from her, wearing one of those Gilligan bucket hats-- so I didn't look so chill myself, I don't mind admitting.

"Yes?" I said.

"HAVE YOU BEEN HERE LONG?!" she shouted across the street at me. High school kids were waiting for the bus at the corner in a cluster, and one or two turned to watch us. Great, I thought, an audience. Or maybe, actually, witnesses.

I didn't know what she meant by "Have you been here long?" Did she mean "in this neighborhood?" Because, no, it hasn't been too terribly long-- we moved here last February. If she meant "in this town" then, yeah, I've lived in this town my whole life. But her tone didn't seem to jive with some innocuous casual inquiry about my life's story. I didn't really want more information, but I felt that I needed more information to accurately answer her question.

"What?" I asked. Good, Apron. Prompting and probing questions-- just like you learned in grad school. Very good.

My neighbor freaked, gesticulating wildly to the general area surrounding her house.


I froze in place. This conversation had officially descended somewhere unfamiliar to me, and unsettling. I'm no horticulturalist, and I don't know what Stinky Violets are. I know what Stinking Bishop is-- it's a kind of cheese referenced in "Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit." But Stinky Violets? Wouldn't know them if I snorted them.

Which I didn't.

Not knowing how to respond to this question/tirade, I just stood there, looking at her. Her trash bag headpiece was starting to fly off in the wind.

"HAVE YOU BEEN IN MY STINKY-ROOM?!" she roared, pratically apopleptic.

Uh-oh. I was no longer sure that this wasn't a nightmare. I suddenly wished that I was a teenage girl, outfitted with a minican of mace and/or a rape-whistle.

"I have no idea what you're talking about," I replied calmly.

"NO?! YOU DON'T?!"

"No. I don't."

All of the kids at the bus stop were now looking at us, probably placing bets. She cocked her head and stared at me for a moment before shouting,


I stared at her, my mouth agape.

"SEE YA LATER!" she yelled, and walked back into her house where, I can only presume, all of the walls are covered in feces, shaving cream, and egg-yolks.

Walking back into the house I unhooked the dogs and announced, "Well, we can add one more house to the list of places/people/things/animals I need to avoid on our morning walk."

When I leave my house in the morning to walk our two dogs, I have to immediately duck with them into the back of the house to avoid a potentially volatile confrontation with the guy who owns the muzzled black dog and the cairn terrier who is, without a doubt, on crystal meth. This little dog, this Toto, this crazy fucking fuckhead could eviscerate a German Shepherd in a matter of seconds if the two were left in a room alone together. His snarling, wretching, growling, gnashing can be heard from streets away. And he hates my dogs. Maybe he hates anything and everything that isn't his meth dealer. Maybe, though, it isn't meth. Maybe he's into steroids. Maybe he's got the Roid Rage. Whatever it is, I avoid him, his foaming, muzzled, black compatriot, and the asshole owner who still insists on walking past my house at precisely the same time I have to leave in the morning before Molly steam-pisses our rugs.

Walking down our back-alley is also something I try to avoid, because the mixture of feral alley-cats, squirrels dive-bombing into trash-cans and obsessive-compulsive birds beaking themselves to death on trees and poles is enough to drive poor Molly, a mere 9 months old into an absolute distracted panic. A fluttering leaf falling from a tree is enough to transfix her and make her forget why we are outside in the first place: pissnshittime.

If I walk past Cliff's house, it's invariably when he's leaving for work, and this often results in a fifteen minute conversation, during which I fantasize about removing both of my eyeballs with my bare hands and inserting them into Cliff's mouth to get him to shut the fuck up. Cliff's a jovial, no worries kind of guy, and that type of person drives me nuts. When I talk to Cliff, I think, "Isn't he going to be late to work?" and, if he is, what excuse does he proffer to his employer?

"Oh, sorry I'm late Mr. Stuffnstuff, I just had to talk my neighbor's balls off about the dogwood tree on my front lawn. Won't happen again."

"At this rate," I said to my wife in the kitchen, "I'll have to walk the dogs on the fucking roof."

Of course, it's leaking, so that's probably not such a hot idea. And, besides: what would the neighbors say?


  1. wow, and i thought my neighbors (a dog breeder, a serial sue-er, and a guy who once said of someone else: "we used to could solve these problems with an ax-handle") we weird...

  2. LOL. i feel your pain. i look through the glass of the main entrance door before stepping outside to make sure neighbors aren't around. they always try to pet my dog even though she barks at them EVERY SINGLE TIME. then i'm forced to talk to them when i'd planned to not open my mouth until i was in my car, yelling at the mini van that won't drive when the light's green. so yea, when the coast is clear, i run with the dog to the yard back of the house, then we run back inside. there's no reason to be courteous in the morning.

  3. Like you, I want to be nowhere near this woman's stinky room. Because I think we both know what she was talking about.

  4. I think the best part of this story is that you were holding your dogs shit the entire conversation with the crazy lady.


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