Monday, May 11, 2009

Love Thy Neighbor

"Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won't you be my neighbor?"

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
, Fred Rogers

Put this in the category of One of Life's Little Mysteries Is Solved. For quite some time now, our trash bins have been miraculously appearing back in their normal space after the garbage trucks have emptied them and left them on the street. This morning I was sitting at the computer upstairs shortly after the trash was collected when I noticed one of our older neighbors a few houses up the block putting other people's trash bins back. He walked across the road doing the same including our house.

I have no idea if this is his idea of performing small, anonymous acts of charity for people you don't even know all that well or whether he has a type of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder which compels him to tidy up all the trash bins with their lids open or lying on their side in the road. In Greenwich either one is a real possibility. I will take it as an act of kindness.

I could ask him, of course, but the fact is that we have lived directly across the street from one another for nine years and have never spoken. We're friendly in the half-smile-nod-your-head way, but one thing no one will ever accuse Linda and me of is being overly close with our neighbors.

In the 20+ years we have lived in Oz, we have been in our neighbors' homes three times - and only once here where we have lived since 2000. Our neighbors have been in our homes, if my memory serves me correctly, never.

The funny thing is that we consider ourselves friendly with several of them. We stop and chat for awhile when we bump into one another on the sidewalk. They've collected our mail when we were away for a short time. We've asked some of them to join us for a drink on the deck in the summer, not really expecting them to accept - and they don't.

I think it's probably pretty urban. You live so close to one another that it's probably a lot safer to be cordial with one another than test a friendship by socializing only to realize that you would rather find out what it's like for a hairy man to wax his body than listen to them one more hour. And then you end up with the incredibly awkward times when you meet someone on the street whom you owe a dinner and have no desire whatsoever to return the favor because they are so boring/irritating/just plain dumb.

However, I am pretty sure the main reason for all this is because LK and I have been like bears retreating to their cave during our working years. We really savor evenings and weekends where we just veg out. When she joins me in retirement in a couple of weeks, I suspect this will be less desirable. But then again, it may get worse as we both start to grumble when we have to wear anything other than sweatpants and a t-shirt. It could go either way.

It was the New England poet Robert Frost who wrote, "Good fences make good neighbors," but I really can't claim I was raised to be like this with my neighbors. When I was growing up, my parents were great friends with so many of their neighbors. I can remember them all taking turns having get-togethers at one another's house. They became lifetime friends and forty years later, with great distances now between them, my folks are still in touch with several of those people.

And while it's nice to get phone calls, visits and e-mails from old neighbors, I will have to content myself with having the trash can brought in from the street.


Testing the Heavy Drinkers Quick Weight Loss Program.
Log. Days Four through Six.

I continue the tests to determine the viability of losing weight by not drinking while eating and exercising as normally. I am beginning to think my theory is more wishful thinking than science. But wait, that's not really so bad, is it?

The monkeys have finally left the house. I did awaken to voices in the bedroom and thought it was them, but it turns out it was only Linda complaining - once again - that she cannot sleep on her side of the bed because she keeps rolling downhill toward me.

On Days Four and Five, blood glucose stayed level and BMI and weight both went UP, although not to the levels at the beginning of the test. Day Six saw glucose down quite a bit - although that may have had more to do with remembering to take my meds than any diet. BMI and weight both went down, but neither is as low as they were on Day Two.

So, cumulative six-day results:

BMI Down 1%
Weight Down 1.76 pounds (.9kg) (but 2 pounds higher than after Day Two)

Conclusion: I could have lost more weight by drinking two glasses of prune juice each day. I am even cheating a bit by increasing my exercising time in the (vain) hope of driving the numbers further down. If tomorrow doesn't yield some worthwhile results, this test is toast - admittedly, only browned on one side. I may mark the end of the test by going vegetarian - well, olives in the martinis.

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