The People in Your Neighborhood
Right before I got pregnant, we decided we wanted to own a home. We tentatively put bids on a couple of San Francisco fixer uppers. The first one was a unit in an empty six-unit building, and we offered asking price.
We waited anxiously while the owner ignored us for a week, and then he countered $30,000 above asking. We asked our agent, “Were there other offers?” He said no. We asked our agent, “Where does this guy live?” And then we drove over and punched him in the teeth.
Next, we fell hard for the top floor of a Victorian with hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings, window seats, and wish-granting fairies who lived in the dumbwaiter. It was a tenancy in common, which means you share a mortgage with total strangers. I kid you not. In many cases, you may not even meet the people with whom you will share the house and a mortgage before you put in a bid.
If your bid is approved, you take out life insurance on each other in case something happens to one of you. Later, they hire someone to kill you so they can afford to own the whole building. Anyway, we wrote a heartfelt letter about raising our children there, bid a ludicrous amount over asking, and came in seventh out of thirteen bidders. I still feel bewildered.
It was around this time that we happened across a perfect little cabin in the wine country, and decided we could afford the modest mortgage and still pay rent on our apartment in the city. We bought a vacaaaation home. I say this with a long cigarette holder perched between my fingers as I bathe in organic cream.
The nearby town used to be a resort destination in the 1920s and ’30s, and in some ways, it still has that feel — like a big summer camp for grown ups, except most people living there are locals now. And the locals, they make life a lot more fun.
Once, on a morning walk with Hank, we noticed one of our neighbors had stuck a decaying boar’s head on a post in the driveway, Lord of the Flies style. Presumably to warn the other boars? Perhaps so they can dance around it at night chanting? I’ve been meaning to ask. Maybe I’ll take some muffins over.
Recently, we saw these excellent flyers posted everywhere:
In case you can’t make that out, it goes a little something like this:
Leading to the
whoever tryed to
steal my G.M.C. Truck
in between 11:00 PM 5-9
And 7:30 AM 5-10-08
Call (number painstakingly obscured in Photoshop)
I will find you!
Of course, this happened last month, not seven days from now, but shut up. You knew what he meant.
I’ve decided Information Leading to a Beatdown is the highest classification of information. The essence of news you can use: News you can use to assault someone.
In short, we finally found a place to call home. And if you touch our car, you know what to expect.