Wednesday, May 10, 2006

good fences make good neighbors

This morning I popped out my back door carrying the large bag of kitchen trash to find the sidewalk to my alley completely blocked off by the construction project next door. This construction project has been the bane of our existence for several months, as it has not only made a lot of noise, but torn up our garden, landed things onto our roof, pilfered our water, blocked our parking, hidden our trash cans, and left cigarette butts (ew! ew! ew!) on our lawn. Not only that, but when finished it will populate our neighborhood with yet more luxury SUVs and well-meaning yuppies carrying petitions to shut down the BBQ joint because "the smoke bothers us; doesn't it bother you?" Far from believing that the wafting scent of food or the park next door are assets, they want to regulate and sanitize--which I suppose might be how I felt if I were silly enough to drop half a million on a piece of property that doesn't even have land for a garden. All of these thoughts may, I admit, have been playing out on my face as I stood on my porch and held my bag of smelly garbage.

The man operating the backhoe in the middle of this travesty caught my eye and must have read this. He turned around with a "Yo!" to one of the hard hatted men and used a work glove to gesture my way. The guy in the hard hat immediately jogged over, clambered over the rolled-up chain link fence which was blocking the sidewalk, and held out his hand for the trash. "Don't worry, ma'am," he said. "I've got it." I was charmed. Completely charmed. I don't care that he ma'am-ed me, I don't hardly care that he may or may not have been as nice to my spouse, and for one glorious minute I forgot about the swath of my garden that had been destroyed. I just thanked him warmly and tried to ignore the juice oozing out of one edge of the trash bag.

***

I've been reading over the Harlot's "Knitting Rules" (yes! I read straight through books of knitting instruction for fun!) and have just gotten to the hat chapter, where she explains neat tricks for estimating the size of someone's head. I've been trying these out and giggling like a toddler when I discover they're true. Did you know that the circumference of a person's head is about three times the length from thumb to pinky on an outstretched hand? Go ahead, try it. Put your pinky fingers together and hold your hands around where your hat brim would sit. Imagine that third handspan on the back of your head. Tell me if it makes you a little surprised and gleeful. If it doesn't do that, tell me how long it took one of your coworkers to ask what crazy thing you are up to now. Or, if you're shy, duck down in your cube/office/kitchen so you don't get spotted. Because sometimes good fences do make good neighbors.

4 Comments:

Blogger giddybug said...

The hands to head trick doesn't work for me. If I hold my hands at brim height with the pinkies touching at the back of my head, then twist one hand around without moving the thumb so that it covers the front of my head instead, I have a full finger-length of overlap.

Guess no one can accuse me of having a big head.

8:12 AM  
Blogger Trope said...

giddybug: Oh! Oh! I didn't think of turning my hand around! That's even funnier!

That's good to know about you, though. I will keep this in mind, the next time I knit you a hat.

8:24 AM  
Blogger Theresa said...

The construction scene is such familiar one to us. Right after we moved into our house, the guy on the west side of us started renovating his apartment building. Made our lives a living hell for over a year with all the noise and construction equipment (it's not so bad now except for the renters that like to throw cigarette butts over the edges of their balconies....doesn't anyone use ashtrays any more?). And now, the building on the other side of us is going condo. They've been better neighbors about the construction, but I'm definitely ready to have them be finished... even if I am not looking forward to having six sets of new neighbors with probably not enough parking for all of them.

12:45 PM  
Blogger giddybug said...

That's good to know about you, though. I will keep this in mind, the next time I knit you a hat.

Also the next time you knit me mittens or gloves. Because it's more about my hands being large than about my head being small, I think.

10:42 AM  

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