I am extremely pleased with myself today. On my mind for the last 2 weeks has been the terrifying prospect of ‘Introduce Myself to the Neighbours’. I know, I know, it isn’t exactly facing the Taliban unarmed, but I had been intending to do this as my very first one, and every day I have found an excuse not to. The flurry of random exercise classes betrays my avoidance of anything that puts me in an unpredictable social situation.
So. I told 3 people today was the day, as that made the prospect a bit more real, and meant I’d have to explain myself if I bottled out, again. Even after that, I jumped in my car and was about to head to town, promising myself I’d do it later, when I thought, ‘oh for God’s sake. Just go and do it’.
So I parked the car 10 yards from my house, and got out. I went to a house at random and knocked, (hoping no one would be in), but oh help, a man answered and looked me up and down curiously. I explained my neighbourly intentions, and all was well. In fact I was invited inside, met the dogs, and was there for a good 20 minutes, comparing tales of how we come to be living where we do; and chuckling companionably at how unpleasant my house is. Which was nice.
Flushed with success I went to another door, to find a retired couple whose children had left home; and then a third house, within which lurked a teenage girl off sick from school. I had to apologise profusely for dragging her out of bed. Lucky I didn’t go there first.
The best thing about it all, was that later in the day the wife and daughter of neighbour no. 1, came to pay me a visit in return. I was woefully underprepared for guests (we were half way through a play date and literally no corner of the accommodation was unsoiled. The children had already snacked, spread toys through every room, painted pictures, and were now happily ‘cleaning up’ in the bathroom, which they had flooded). Nonetheless I invited the company in for a cup of tea. The carnage was impossible to ignore, and I think her exact comment was ‘Well it‘s nice to see a house where children can play’. That is about the most generous interpretation that anyone could put on the level of abject squalor. I warmed to her immensely.
So now we are all the best of friends; it turns out they are not yet hugely established here themselves, and were therefore glad of the acquaintance. And as a happy by-product the daughter is of prime babysitting age, AND in need of money to fund an upcoming foreign expedition. So I think we will all get on famously!
But most importantly, the deed is done. I can move on from that one, knowing I have conquered one more mini-demon. Though I suspect I will still be delaying on the stand-up comedy attempt for as long as possible!