A Beautiful Day for a Neighbor

The snow is all gone now and so my city has gone back to its regularly scheduled soggy drip. Somehow, rain seems colder than snow. It’s just so…damp and clammy.

The rest of the holiday weekend was pretty much taken up by full on joyful hysteria over the fact that Biogirl is moving to a house within shouting distance of my house, right on my street, right there, OMG, right there! This got me thinking about relationships in my life that were made even more awesome by geographic proximity. Dudes, I feel a hearken coming on! I am about to hearken back! And listing is also imminent! Listing and hearkening: commencing!

1. My sister and I shared a bedroom when I was a kid, up until she left for college when I was 10. My sister was, by far, the most important person in my life for my entire childhood and our sharing a room made my worship of her that much stronger. Lying in our beds, listening to The Clash on her super cool record player, away from my stinky brothers: heaven. She probably hated having me there during her teen years, but I’m so glad that we had to share a room. All the better to try to make myself into a mini-me of her coolness. I think I am still probably doing that to this day.

2. After my sister left, I got a new roomie, at least part time: my cousin. My uncle often would work the night shift at the car factory, so my aunt and cousin would come spend the night at our house a lot. I graduated to my sister’s bed, and my cousin would sleep in my old bed. It was like a total switcheroo- the age difference between us was the same as it was between me and my sister. Now I got to be the (sort of) cool older one. I remember, when she was about 5 years old, she would have nightmares and come wake me up to come sleep in my bed with me. Having her scared little self huddled up with me made me feel a protectiveness that I had never felt before. I still feel that way about her.

3. Allison lived in my neighborhood from the time we were like three or four. I have walked my ass to her mom’s house so many times in the past 3 decades that I’m surprised the pavement isn’t worn out between her mom’s and mine. The thing I remember about her living there was that she was so damn accessible. Sleepovers were easy, getting to school together and back was cake. I remember having a crush on this unattainable dude (who was in a band! who rode a motorcycle! who was 24!) our senior year in high school, and the afternoon when I actually somehow managed to make out with him? I ran to her house immediately to tell her. I could have called her, or another friend, but she was right there to OHMYGODDDDD in person. There are still times even now where something big will happen to me and my first impulse is to want to run out the door and somehow get to Alli’s house.

4. I had many roommates growing up when I went to the various dance schools I went to, but my favorite friends were Kim and Marcy. The three of us lived on the same floor of our dorm, and we were inseparable. I was 13 years old at the time, and living by myself in New York City (“NEW YORK CITY!? GET A ROPE!” Sorry, I just have to say that) but was in classes with older girls who were 16 and 17. Kim and Marcy took me under their wing and, well, ok, they exposed me to shit that I probably shouldn’t have been exposed to, but dang, I loved those girls. They talked about s-e-x at a time when I was still calling it s-e-x. They were always very conscious of the fact that I was a kid- they all smoked and swore and had clandestine meetups with boys, but would never had allowed me to try any of it. They rocked.

5. The first colleg roommate I had was Liz, who at first glance had nothing in common with me. She was shy and dignified, I was loud and um, if anyone ever called me dignified when I was 18 I’ll be a junkie’s uncle. She came to school with a pink flowered bedspread with matching ruffled pillows and my sheets had Snoopy as the Red Baron on them (hello 18-year-old-me, you are trying too hard to be ironic). Liz turned out to have a silly sense of humor and we spent many a night laughing until we were literally on the floor. Her friends were not people I hung out with, and mine weren’t her favorite either, and I often think about how, had we not been roommates, we would never have gotten so close.

6. My other notable college roommate was Nan. Nan was around during some of the bumpiest days of my life and was pretty much the reason I made it through.

7. My big bro. Read about when he took me in. Pretty good guy, that one.

8. I lived with a couple of dudes before shacking up with Nordic Boy. Meh, not so awesome. Let’s just call those learning experiences. Or just dumb. Either one.

9. I moved in with Nordic Boy, who is the first roomie I have encountered that understands the importance of singalongs and making up silly dances in a roommate relationship.

10. Before I went to grad school, I knew Neighbor J sort of, just through a mutual friend. We went to a party at her place- a duplex of super cute proportions. “If the unit next door ever becomes available, let us know,” I said. And like a month later, it did. This led to the defining neighborly relationship of my life. Neighbor J and I fell in friendship love like nobody’s business. We would carry on conversations through the wall, and we would eat dinner together every summer night in our backyard, and we would have afternoon tea times, and just do every last thing together. It really was one of the best times in my life.

11. Delium is not really my neighbor- he lives one neighborhood away from me, but the fact that he and I went to college together in a teeny tiny Michigan town and all these years later we both live across the country within one mile of each other, and we didn’t even do that on purpose, is pretty weird. But great.

12. The Soggy Librarian and I were work friends for a little while. Well, more like work acquaintances that were friendly. I always sort of had a friendcrush on her, but we never really did anything outside of work. One day, we were at a meeting, and she told me that she had bought a house on my street. I remember, in that moment, having a sort of Wayne Campbell thing happen where I thought “You will be my friend now. Oh yes. You will be my friend.” Creepy? Ok fine. But I was right.

And now, Biogirl. We have been through thick and thin together, the two of us, but one thing we have never done is to be neighbors. Until now. Yippee!


  1. This post makes me nostalgic for all the times in my life when I had friends nearby. I'm currently nowhere near any of my friends, and it totally sucks. Which is why I would be totally psyched if I were you, too.

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