My neighbors are moving.

I’m very disappointed to announce that my neighbors are moving. Not just one set of neighbors, mind you, but both neighbors. The folks on the left, and the folks on the right.

Now, contrary to what you might think, this really has nothing to do with my quality as a neighbor. In fact, I’ve been told that I’m a damn fine neighbor. I’m always fast to accept cookies promptly as they exit the oven, on a number of occasions I’ve been kind enough to return most of the magazines that were accidentally delivered to my box, and it’s been my pleasure for several years to make my front patio available to anyone that wants to nurture flowers, trees, bushes, or anything else that’s green that I might neglect to death. And just the other day I graciously accepted a donation of a spanking used piece of exercise equipment, that would otherwise be sitting in my neighbor’s home, the source of guilt and anxiety simply by virtue of its disuse and a symbol of a poor investment.

I was doing her a favor.

And I needed another place to hang dirty clothes. The stationary bike, the Nordic track and the weight bench are all full.

My neighbor turned this stair stepper over to me the other day before she even knew for sure she was moving. She claimed she didn’t have room for it, and never used it. I’m convinced it has nothing to do with her concern over the growing spare tire I’ve been sporting, after this, our winter of inactivity.

I know this, because my wardrobe has been carefully selected to hide this new addition to the family. Sweatpants and shirts that don’t tuck. A closet full of ‘em.

Anyway, I get my exercise kicking out the footrest on my recliner, and hollering at the television. I’m angry at the crappy quality of American game shows, and the crappy quality of British game show hosts. Have you seen this Weakest Link? “Scariest Woman on Television” my ass.

“Whose intelligence has no beginning? Where is the village that is missing its idiot? Who’s one eggroll short of a poo-poo platter?”

Ooh, I’m so scared. Give me a break. You want a scary host, give that show to Denis Leary. Give it to Dennis Miller. Hell, give it to Dennis Franz. But please, this broad is about as scary as a cranky small time bureaucrat who just got passed over for an annual COLA. Dumb as dirt, but still holding you by the short-hairs ‘cuz she’s the only one who can sign off your Jury Duty.

Since I’m on the subject, by the way, I have to say that this new show, Fear Factor, is really bringing me down. This is like Jackass with lovely prizes. [can I say 'jackass' on the air? 'jackass' is the name of the show. if I'm not allowed to say 'jackass', let me know.] American game shows have always been about skill and knowledge. You got your Jeopardy, your $64,000 Question (scandal notwithstanding), your Millionaire and your Win Ben Stein’s Money. You win prizes here in America by knowing which philosopher studied with Pliny, the name of the guy who discovered the source of the Nile, or the price of a beautiful dining room set and a lifetime of free rentals from RugDoctor. Now, all of a sudden, not only do I have to watch some idiot on MTV volunteer to get kicked in the naughty bits by a mule in the name of cutting edge entertainment, but I got a whole new show where I watch people win money being the one who can handle getting kicked the most times.

I might as well move to Japan, where skinny guys win money trying to knock fat guys off a greased balance beam into a wading pool full of scorpions with the bumper from an Isuzu in an effort to win a can of chocolate flavored cheezwhiz.

I might as well move, because I’m losing my damn neighbors and I’ve hardly got any reason to stay here any more. Hell, I work for a dot-com, so my career’s wildly stable, and my kids are old enough to fend for themselves.

I was born and raised in this lovely little bedroom community of the Silicon Valley. So was my Father. My children’s family, on their Mother’s side, goes back to the original Mexican land grants. And I’m renting my home, because I’ve never been able to afford to purchase a home here. And I’ve watched my rent go up 47 percent in the past 5 years. 47 freaking percent. And now, I watch my neighbors priced right out of being able to justify paying $1400 bucks for a 30 year old apartment that has an ocean view if you climb out the bedroom window and stand on the dumpster.

I’ve grown up listening to Johnny-come-lately residents, folks commuting the forty minutes from the fog to the smog, complain about traffic and crowding and tourists and prices. People who claim “I’ve lived here ten years, and I’ve watched this place go to hell with all these new people moving here. I’ve got mine, close the damn floodgates!”

If anybody ought to be able to say “close the damn floodgates” it’s me.

So I’m losing my neighbors. That’s the important point in all this. They’ll move away to Oregon, or Idaho, or Utah, or wherever a person can still afford to make a home for two, three or four spouses and a passel of kissing cousins. I hate to see them go, because they’ve been fast and loose with the cookies and casseroles, and because God knows what kind of freak show is going to end up moving in after them. It’s a slim chance I’ll get another neighbor that will quietly put up with me screaming and yelling while watching America’s Funniest Home Rescues or Nordic Strong Man Alligator Wrestling. I’ll probably have to start watering my own plants, and I may have to learn how to make something besides frozen potstickers.

So I’m going to abuse this on-air privelage to say so long to David, Stephanie, Terri and Richard, Tessie, Hannah, Paisley and Lincoln. I’ll miss you, and I’ll never forgive you all for leaving me.

Now, if anybody knows of any hot young co-ed lesbians looking for a place to live, have I got a place for you.

One on the left, and one on the right.

That’s it. That’s all I got.

FOOTNOTE: Original publication date – sometime in 2002. Who moved in? The woman who became my lovely wife (she’s the one in the green). Things worked out pretty good, eh?

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