Sunday, January 15, 2012

Banana Bread and Batman

When we moved into this townhome unit we were the first to buy. It was a great deal at the time. We paid top dollar in 2007 (though we didn't know that at the time).  And then the market plunged into outer darkness and our loan flipped $80,000 upside down within the next two years. We are not the type of people to feel good about walking away from our mortgage. We can afford it. It's not an optimal situation with our dogs, we wish we had a fenced in yard, but this is a choice we made, we borrowed money we didn't have and we are paying it back because we said we would.

But here's the thing: you're got to really love your neighbors when you move into a townhome. For the most part, we have awesome neighbors, the kind of people you run to when your end of the building is on fire and you're in your underwear. These people are stellar. So when the last people moved in, the people that would share a wall with us, we were excited to meet them and welcome them into our club.

They were not excited to meet us.

While the moving truck was pulled up out front we went over and introduced ourselves. They were polite. Their small son had a Batman costume on. Which, incidentally, he never took off in four years. Dad shook Andy's hand. He was very nice. Mom looked about my age which secretly made me happy because everyone else in the hood was half my age and bearing children right and left. We offered to help bring in boxes and it was like we had leperosy all of the sudden. "Don't touch anything," she said flatly, "we're fine."

Who says that? No one. You smile and say, "Oh, we're almost done but thanks anyway," or "You're so nice but we've got a system..." or something. Sheesh. "Don't touch anything."

I was unphased. I would go down with the ship as usual. So....

A few days later, instead of crashing on the couch after work, I got out the old Ninth Ward cookbook and baked some famous Zona Steiner banana bread (I had a hard time letting it out of the house).  While it was still hot, I wrapped it, tagged it with "Welcome home neighbors!!!!" Smiley face. Too many exclamation points. "Please rely on us for anything you need. Andy, Jan, Gus and Lily." Then I took three steps over to their front door, lights on everywhere, I could hear the 72" T.V., the kid running around screaming, mom yelling at him. "They will fit right in here," I thought. I rang the bell.


More silence. Like everyone inside the house had frozen, wondering what to do. Eyes shifting.

I took a step back. Maybe I was too close, "in their space" so to speak. That bread was hot so I switched hands. Rude to ring twice? Oh well. I was committed. Loud bell.

Creepy silence.

I saw the blind move quickly. Too quickly. I took another step back.

By this time I was thoroughly confused. Maybe they were in their underwear. So I waited a little longer giving them time to throw on clothes. Mormon women with hot banana bread to no go easily into the night.

Third ring. I'm nothing if not ballsy.

Lights start going off. Really?! Okay I get it, letting my macro smile fade. Should I take the banana bread back home and slice into that goodness myself? It had a sugar crust for crying out loud!!!! I wrestled! Hung my head and debated with myself. The other loaf was almost gone. No. I was taught better. Pause. Crunchy hot sugar crust. Dang!! I gently laid it on the welcome mat, took a deep breath, bid it goodbye and hoped it would call me as soon as it got inside to tell me what was really going on in there.

But it never got inside.

The next day, I saw it sitting there on my way to work. Poor thing had been out in the cold all night and was probably now as hard as a brick, and feeling bad that it had not fulfilled the measure of it's creation.

But I'm starting to. So... that's good anyway. (I hope it gave them ants.)