Things My Neighbor Did Not Do Last Weekend

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Kevin and I just got back from Santa Ynez, a charming locale that is approximately 120 miles from our neighbor. I haven't written much about my neighbor over the last few months, mainly because her penchant for showing up on my doorstep no less than five times a day is about as hilarious as watching a preschool burn. But I've taken the path of least resistance. By inviting her in once or twice a day, and providing her with a detailed weekly schedule of my whereabouts, I don't have to deal with any of those "surprise" episodes where I find her peeking through my blinds or harvesting my mail.


My neighbor is obsessed with our mail. She is always bringing our packages around from the front door to the kitchen door. It gives her a firm sense of purpose. In fact, she was so concerned about our going on vacation because, should a package arrive without us there to receive it, MINDS WOULD BE BLOWN. The evening before our arrival, my neighbor stood frantically on our doorstep, suggesting we provide her with the spare key such that she could stow any packages tenderly inside our home. Otherwise the package would be lonely. Lost to the intemperate outdoors. Where accidents happen.


And while she campaigned heavily for this key, and I listened, nodding from behind the screen door, Kevin was sweating it out in the next room, yelling, "ANN. I NEED TO TALK TO YOU RIGHT NOW."

"Just a minute, Bun Bun. Clara thinks she needs our key."

"IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT."

The desperation in his voice was palpable. Not to mention my neighbor's, as she was so close to obtaining a tool that might grant her unlimited access to Kevin's underwear drawer. And Kevin, now apoplectic, was making a terrible racket from the next room, in hopes of pulling me away from the door and ensuring the safety of our house-keys.


I did not, of course, give my neighbor our key. By the time I'd confessed to her that I'd already given the key to another neighbor, one who was both reliable and completely disinterested in licking my husband's shampoo bottles, Kevin had gnawed his way through a bookshelf and was bordering on a stroke.


Our arrival in Santa Ynez was bittersweet. The prior week, our family had come down with a flu that induced coughing fits and rapid weight loss. Kevin had emerged from the virus ten pounds lighter, and he'd taken to sporting a full Leviticus-looking beard. The overall effect was very aging, and one snide diner at Industrial Eats made a very loud comment about us, something along the lines of, "That man seems to be dating his daughter."

If Kevs had heard anything, he pretended otherwise. But within ten minutes of being in our hotel, he shaved that Biblical beard right off his face.


I, of course, spent a great deal of our vacation taking artistic selfies.

FIRST POSITION!
"Well, Diane. We are seeing an awful lot of Uggs on the runway this season..."
Kevin crashed what would have possibly been my strongest selfie with his need to be affectionate.
I will say this, though. It is true that Kevs is old enough to be my father. But that aside, I am clearly not his daughter. And when that woman made that absurd comment, it took everything inside of me not to march over to her table and eat the feta pizza right off her plate and remind her that there is NO WAY IN HECK my nose looks like Kevin's.
Kevin has a Roman nose.
And I have a perfect one. It's RIDICULOUS that people can't tell the difference.
And my nose became the topic of all our mealtime conversations until Kevs decided that our trip would be infinitely more enjoyable if I were drunk.

So, for breakfast Tuesday morning, I had a few cakes...


Oh, and here's Kevs paying for everything I do. Ahahahaha.
And around two o'clock in the afternoon, Kevs thought it would be fun to get cocktails. And I was like, "But it's two o'clock in the afternoon!" And Kevs was like, "Yes. And your personality is sensational. I need to start drinking."

So he took me to the bar at Red Barn. Now here's the thing. I don't go to bars. It's not a moral thing. I have only a handful of morals and they mostly involve fashion. It's more like a "bars are just too obvious" thing. I feel like bars are to alcohol what Tinder is to the one-night-stand. Painfully obvious. We all know why someone is in a bar, and it's not to reunite themselves with loved ones they lost in the confusion of war. So when you're in a bar at two o'clock in the afternoon, you are clearly an alcoholic.
Can you see me?
Then there's Kevin's humiliating fascination with French martinis.


Despite my efforts to inform the bartender that we were "but two wayward travelers, parched and tired from a long journey. And in no way alcoholics on this very fine afternoon..." she filled our glasses up to the brim and over.

Two absolutely ordinary run-of-the-mill individuals with no defining addiction issues.
By refill number three, I was a very different person.

I argued that the glyphs written on the ceiling were a secret language, something insidious--maybe Free Mason.


In an attempt to decipher their wisdom, I fell backwards off my bar stool--further convincing the bartender that I belong in a bar at 2pm.


On the short trip back to the inn, I attempted to walk in on a Santa Ynez Chamber meeting because I felt such a strong sense of "belongingness" within the community.


I had a fake name readied and everything--which was fine, because people never check those kinds of things.

Unfortunately, Kevin had little interest in my Bourne Identity, and he insisted I belonged out of the public eye, and safely in a hotel room, perhaps with bars on the window.

I did as told, but rolled around on the mattress for a while, taking more artistic selfies.


This is the last photo I took before I apparently passed out for THREE HOURS OF QUALITY VACATION TIME.


When I woke up, I was extremely miffed. I'd lost the entire afternoon to a martini-induced coma. I vowed to lay off the Effen vodka.


Like literally. I like kid you not. Isn't that amazing? I can see Effen vodka being the ceremonious "Who's on First?" skit of the 21st century.


My hangover remedy involved lemonade and oatmeal cookies, because I was going to eat those anyway. I'm also considering alcoholism as a way to manage my neighbor--a neighbor who, within three minutes of our being home, managed to text, "You made it back safely!"

Because this is what safe feels like.