Won't You Be My Neighbor
March 26, 2007

I lived next door to Fidel Castro. In Miami in the 1990’s. I know the neighborhood can attest to this truism. At the house two doors down, the only non-ranch style house. It appeared to have two stories and the the purple Mustang in the drive. I suppose there is no accounting for taste. Especially in a house where a Cuban dictator lived. Who wouldn’t have thought that a bearded man wasn’t Castro? Not when we roamed the streets in army greens. My sister and I swear we saw a cigar, Cuban no doubt, hanging from his mouth and peaking out from the grey beard. In those days too, Castro’s prominence was questionable. The media never showed him and there had been rumors that he died. Well, we knew the truth, he was alive and talking leisurely strolls down 70th Avenue. Residing amongst millions of Cubans exiles and lapping in the sun of South Miami.

In Tampa we moved to the golf course neighborhood. New to us, but there were old school Southerners. Rambling homes with oak trees, brick streets, and Muffys. One next to us who spent her days at the Yacht club, drinking beverages with tonic and lunching. Or we would presume. Possibly mostly the beverages. As her husband later went bankrupt – which would drive me to drink. To welcome us to the neighborhood she “made” a peach cobbler. People like her make things by paying for them. She daintily crossed the lawn careful not to ruin her silk heels or trip over her alcohol. She warmly knocked and welcomed us. A kind gesture no doubt. But for the chunk of cobbler missing from the dessert. “Oh, my husband was hungry so I gave it to him.” Welcome to the neighborhood.

In a few days I get new neighbors. As we are set to move into a house in a new area of town. Yeah we are moving. (!) Out of the condo and into more space, where we don't need a storage unit and we have grass and a kitchen. We will have tables and not just one but a dining room one too. This means no more eating on the couch and and it means room to spread out and cook and relax. It also means I get to meet a new breed of people. To me they are like co-workers. You have no idea where they come from and they are bizarre and strange with some questionable fashion sense. Yet they are there daily and you spend significant amount of time with and near them. Some how they also become the fabric of your life. Weaving in and out and sharing their witticisms with you - often without a choice. You standing there awkwardly waiting to exit the conversation and be polite. They do make for good storytelling and insane frustration, but hopefully in this instance some good friends too. We all dream of those blocks with parties, friends, and wonderful street life. Or at least a lack of drama. Let’s just hope Castro and Muffy stay where they are.

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Blogger brandy said:

Good luck with the move (and congratulations on owning your own grass. That sounded weird. Moving on...). I hope that no dictators live near you, but if they do, they are the nice kind who bake apple pies and mow your lawn when you are out of town.

11:07 PM 

Blogger acaligurl said:

best wishes on the move, and fingers crossed for nicey nice neighbors. :)

11:31 PM 

Blogger Runner Girl FL said:

Hurray, FUN YEA!!

Enjoy your new space.

4:53 AM 

Blogger JustRun said:

How cool! I really liked the way you wrote this. "Tripping over her alcohol." That's a great line. Good luck with the move and have fun!

6:27 AM 

Blogger e.b. said:

brandy - that would be kick ass. he has to be good for something these days.

acaligirl - definitely. we have seem some from afar and hope for the best.

runnergirlfla - thanks!

justrun - can't you just picture her stumbling and carrying the pie.

1:41 PM 

Blogger Cute Jewess said:

This is exciting!!! Hope your new place feels warm and cozy instantly.

9:27 AM 

Blogger brookem said:

damn, i need to catch up!
you're moving! how exciting. and congratulations. wishing you many happy days ahead in your new abode (minus weird neighbors!)

1:42 PM 

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