In a town that’s less than tiny, I’m somewhat ashamed to admit I’m a real creep of a neighbor. I know what time the bus drives by – morning and afternoon – what time my neighbor leaves for work, and roughly who got what amount of mail each day. It’s not that I’m out looking for this information, I just happen upon it. First, I blame gender; women naturally notice things, men only notice when they are driving. Two, my job is staring at computer screens, which is sometimes boring. So, when, someone drives by my window-clad office at 11:24 a.m. every day, I remember it.
The lack of neighborhood activity is also to blame. When cars drive by every minute, you tend to lose track. When the same car drives by every five minutes, you wonder when they’re going to try and rob you. They’re driving past your house, it’s personal. So what if they were giving driving lessons, they were acting real suspicious.
Then, say, your garage door is open one day and it won’t close. (You and your respective housemate didn’t open it.) So then you’re suspicious of other unusual neighborhood activity. Obviously someone is being ultra sneaky, like a pro bono ninja (there’s nothing valuable worth stealing, though I hear recycling fees are off the charts). So you get out your Harriet the Spy binoculars and straight Trachtenberg the perp, which is everyone.
Out of all my creeping, I’ve gotten almost no insight on my direct neighbors, who only sometimes exist. I go outside every day multiple times. I chase the cat, water the garden, drive my car, reprimand loud squirrels, etc. During which, the rest of the neighborhood is quiet, albeit active with everyday activities. The direct neighbors, however, are never out. Their windows are closed, drapes drawn; it took me three full months to see every member of the family. I’ve never seen more than two of them together at a time, and never more than a minute. They walk in the house, or out, but never lollygag outdoors.
I’m still not unconvinced they are shape-shifters, vampires, or another type of privacy-seeking creature. What could possibly be so interesting in that house that they never leave? Maybe they are a family-operated drug operation, or members of the witness protection program, or perhaps they’re just allergic to fresh air.
Whatever the reason, I will continue to keep watch, with binoculars. Something interesting is bound to happen soon, I can feel it in every one of my creep-neighbor bones.