Location: Chandler, AZ, USA
Joined: 06/15/2007
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At Least I Don't Own A Mannequin

September 6, 2007
When we were living (read: shivering and cussing) in Michigan, we owned a small 1950-something brick ranch in a quiet neighborhood. An actual neighborhood, with houses and trees all in a row, and sidewalks, and street lights, and mail carriers walking door-to-door.

Up until then this was a foreign concept for me because I had grown up on a 1-lane rural road, with a rural route address, and a rural gravel driveway, and you were lucky if the school bus came to pick you up during the snowy winters (in which case you were expected to walk at least a half mile to the end of the road to meet it, in the snow, which was so high that the driver wouldn't drive in it, but you had to walk in it, you see the vicious circle don't you?).

So when I moved in with my soon-to-be husband (no, we weren't married yet, SINNERS!) and brought Zivanka along with me, we were quickly and quietly dubbed the "weird neighbors"...I mean, we had a hearse, that's just weird, right? Do you think they carry dead bodies in it? Do you think they work at a morgue? Do you think they mow their lawn on Saturdays just like everyone else just to appear normal? They've got a Great Dane too, do you think they're the Klopeks? Sometimes we'd drive our garbage down to the street and then bang the hell out of it with a stick, just to freak everyone out.

And as much as it was easy to peg us as the strange ones, it became quite obvious to us when Halloween rolled around each year that we were the only sane people on the block.

Two days before Halloween during our first year we took Zivanka out of the garage for a trip into town to pick up some carpet. We didn't own a truck or a trailer, so she pretty much was just a hauling vehicle. It was raining a little, so she was particularly grumpy as we rolled around the block to exit the neighborhood. Up ahead I could see some neighbors (that we've never met) climbing into their truck parked along the street. That's when one of them barrelled out of the truck, ran into the street in front of us, and waved her arms like a lunatic. I seriously thought someone was hurt and that we needed to call 911.

We stopped beside her and rolled down the window to see what was wrong. I'll never forget sitting there, with the rain pelting me in the face, worrying about who was dying, as the woman said, "Can we borrow your car for Halloween?"......Ummm......?

- Uh, no, I don't think that would be a good idea.
- Oh, come on! Please!
- But it's our CAR.
- So?
- So we pay to register it and insure it, we don't just give it to people to borrow.
- But we won't drive it! You could just park it in our yard! We'll pay you!
- Uh, no.

Some of you may be thinking, "why not rent it out? extra money!", in which case I would say, "you don't know me at all," because just the thought of someone's grimy little hands on my car, leaning over it, peering in the windows, sends me into a fit of dizziness, nausea, and numbness that could only be described as a stroke. I may pass out, but not before I cut you. (It is also my life's goal to gather up all the people who put fliers on your windshield and drown them in a bucket of warm spit.)

The next night there was a knock at our door at 9:30pm and another random neighbor (that we've never met) asked us the same question. When we politely declined, she was actually offended and annoyed that we wouldn't honor her simple request. When I said, "You wouldn't let me borrow your car, would you?", she acted like the two scenarios were in no way alike.

Fast-forward one year to a week before Halloween as I pull into our driveway from a normal work day. My husband was out in the yard raking leaves and I'm sitting in the car still on my cell phone talking to a friend as a strange car pulls into our driveway behind me. I see my husband go up to the window and talk to the woman for a couple of minutes before she backs up and pulls away. I tell my friend, "Another crazy wanting to borrow the hearse again."

When I hung up and got out of the car, my husband tells me that no, she wasn't asking to borrow the car, it was even weirder than that. Weirder than that? What, she wanted to borrow my dog? Borrow our house for a party?

"No," he said, "she told me she had a mannequin if we wanted to borrow it to put in the hearse for decoration"......Ummm......? And WE'RE the weird ones? Seriously? A mannequin?

First, we aren't the type of people to put props of dead embalmers in our vehicles and park them on the front lawn. Second, who owns a mannequin??

We're the "weird neighbors"? I want a re-count!!


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