Wednesday, June 01, 2005
I think my neighbor collects human heads.
We live on a very quiet street in a pretty small town, so traffic is pretty much unheard of on our street. Our neighbor to the left rents driveway space to a couple of high school students, so at 2:10 every day they drive past, and otherwise it's a given that almost all of the cars that go by belong to one of the 5 houses on the street.

About two years ago, we got a new neighbor across the street. It was kind of sad to see the previous occupants go - they were 94 and 97, and had been married only about 10 years... newlyweds, those crazy kids. But they needed nursing care, so they moved out and this woman, we'll call her Karen (because that's her name), moved in.

Early on, we tried to be neighborly, brought her banana bread and invited her to dinner. But at that dinner, it became clear that this was not someone with whom we would have a close, friendly relationship. First of all, she is never-married, no-kids, which is fine, except she also apparently belongs to the International Squad of Parenting Police and was a little too ready to question or criticize my daughter and, therefore, my parenting. I have always been amazed by the fact that the world's biggest experts on children are childless. Then she got in a mild spat with my husband because she tried to insist that there is absolutely NO difference at all between adopted and biological children. Being adopted himself, he felt differently - not that one is necessarily worse than the other, but that there are inherent differences. She couldn't give an inch on it, so we haven't invited her back, and the invitation was never reciprocated. Which is fine, not bitter at all about that.

So we've spent the past two years glimpsing each other across the street. She's a really large woman, which all by itself isn't an issue for me. (Mostly because that would be very much a "Hey, you! Stop throwing those stones! And put some clothes on, for God's sake, this IS a glass house, you know!" kind of situation.) But she does play fast and loose with the typical rules of social acceptableness and propriety... let's just say that I am willing to accept that short-shorts are not appropriate for me at this point in time, and others don't share that acceptance of limitations.

But anyway, the human heads. The one truly unique thing about my neighbor is the incredible number of FedEx/UPS/etc deliveries she gets per day. Literally 2-3 per day, sometimes up to 4 or 5. Sometimes late into the night. They're varying sized and shaped packages, and she always rushes out and whisks them in the house right away. (No opening them right on the driveway just to satisfy her neighbors' curiosity, can you imagine??) It took us forever to figure out what she was getting, but now I'm confident in saying that I think it's human heads. What else could require such an extensive collection, which couldn't just be purchased in any store in the area?

To be fair, maybe I'm just jumping to conclusions based on her creepiness. Maybe she's actually a member of several Porn of the Month clubs. I don't care - either way, I'm keeping Jacob away from her. He does have a really nice, round head...