"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

We've moved!

For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Odd Duck*

A blog and real-life friend of mine always shares fun stories** of the odd ducks she finds in her day to day life. I've recently had one of my own, so I thought I'd share.

Several months ago we got a new neighbor. I was excited when I saw wicker furniture coming out of a moving trailer because I was almost definitely sure that college-aged kids don't own wicker furniture. I was right. (Well, I was right about it being an older woman, there might be college kids somewhere with wicker furniture.) We figured having an old lady next door would be great, assuming she liked kids. Jed and I aren't super outgoing people. We haven't known any of the other neighbors we've had especially well. Mostly we just wave hello and goodbye, or not if they are annoying.

The first time I saw this woman to confirm that she was indeed an older woman, I smiled and said hi. She ignored me. She hung up dark burgundy black out curtains in all her windows. I tried again with the hellos when we passed. She ignored me again. I told Jed I thought maybe she was deaf based on her blatantly ignoring me, but also because the night before she'd been hammering at like 11 PM and the other neighbors had banged on the wall and she'd kept going like she hadn't heard them. Several weeks later (yes, we should have known she was weird based on how infrequently she leaves her house) Jed had the chance to see her and he looked her in the face and said hello and she ignored him. He decided either she was deaf, rude or both.

Months later our carpet up against her kitchen is damp so I call maintenance to check it out. They can't get into her apartment. She doesn't have a phone (backing up our deafness assumption) and she freaks out if they try to enter because she thinks they are breaking in. After this, she parks her car in front of the building next to ours for a couple weeks, instead of in front of her own building.

I see her leave now and then with a backpack and golf clubs. And sometimes large piles of groceries that she's taking from her house to her car (not the normal routine with groceries). She's switched the black out curtains to white curtains (or really more like a sheet blocking out the whole window and never opened). Enough time has gone past that we've fallen into ignoring her.

Last night, just about this time, I was home alone... well, the kids were in bed. Jed was at school and there's a knock at the door. It's right about time that Jed could be getting home, but still a little early. And he has keys, so that's a little strange of him to knock. And it's 9:30, so no one we know would really be popping in for a chat. I look through our blinds just in time to see the weird neighbor lady impatiently jiggling our door knob. I open the door and she asks me very nicely if her niece Elizabeth is home. She's holding in her hand a plate with two hot dogs in buns and other stuff, and on the ground by her feet is a bowl filled with what sort of looks like a cracked open raw egg***. I look at her strangely and say no while pondering what do I say... she's not here, you have the wrong house, etc. She gets sort of frustrated, picks up the egg bowl and walks away.

Odd Duck.


*I chose this title because a college friend and roommate used to call strange people this (or maybe she called them strange ducks, I don't remember) AND because I don't know how to pluralize weirdo... is it weirdos or weirdoes?

**I can't link you to her because she's a private blog now, but rest assured, she leads the contest of weirdo run-ins.

***At book club tonight I heard about people putting canned peach slices on cottage cheese or Cool Whip or something to look like a raw egg as an April Fool's joke, so maybe that's what it was.


Postscript: I don't mean to make light of this woman's situation if she really does have dementia or something of that sort. But I was a little freaked out by her sudden, confused friendliness.

4 comments:

Angela said...

Hmmm...strange indeed...That would make me feel a little scared.

Rae said...

Did you ever figure out what the dampness was caused from? Ick. Definitely an odd duck. That's an expression my dad uses and I always find it funny.

Myk said...

She probably has a mental disorder, dementia, or Alzheimer's and has no family that keeps tabs on her. My Grandma had Alzheimer's and would walk over to our house every night and tell my sister and I that we needed to come home and go to bed. She would also do lots of other weird things, I have volumes and volumes of hilarious Grandma stories.

wendys said...

Very weird. Is there an anonymous elderly social services tip line you can call?

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