Being a home-bound unemployed guy with sporadic freelance opportunities, I have developed a routine that keeps me outdoors a lot, able to observe my neighbors as I ride a bike or take or walk or work in the yard in between searching for work online. Not that I really know too many of them, being the typical American neighbor that I am. I think this would make a good NPR monologue. I'll deliver it to the first station that requests it.
We'll start at the top of the street with the couple I call the Washed-Up Porn-Stars because they're super-tan and manicured and super-fit but a little too much for their ages. Then we move on down to the white-haired guy who's always crouched down picking at weeds but his yard always looks like crap no matter how many hours he spends out there in his too-short shorts, cigarette dangling from his lip. He lives not very far from the English couple; she runs a house-cleaning service and he had a Quizno's for a little while and I recently got some really good computer peripherals at their garage sale. We'll bypass the gated community that recently shut their gates full-time because they were tired of people like me using their exclusive circle for a bike or jogging path. Over on your left you'll see the home of the NBC affiliate's lead anchor who can always be seen jogging nearly naked against traffic in nothing but some silky shorts. His wife works for Fed-Ex and she comes home at lunch to walk their Golden Retriever while talking on her phone. Coming up ahead is the home of the couple who I think were the models for the classic painting "American Gothic," and they are just as dour now as they were when they posed for Grant Wood back in 1930. Not much can make them smile, except I suppose the Greyhounds they enjoy rescuing, but their recent one doesn't like bikes and I have to be careful when riding by him because he thinks I'm something he should chase, years of Greyhound racing making him think that anything moving is a mechanical rabbit. Up ahead is Abe who walks this little one-mile loop at least nine times around every day. He told me so when we passed one day. He's a foreign currency trader and takes meetings on his phone during his walks. I once heard him cussing out an employee very loudly and expressing how deeply fucking disappointed he was in their performance and how the fuck could they have done what they did and what the fuck were they thinking. Here is the family that loves Mustangs. They have three mustangs from the mid-1980s, all the same year I'm pretty sure. Here's the cop's house. She is an Orlando cop. Up ahead and on the same side is the sheriff's deputy's house. It's nice to have cops and sheriffs on your street. There's the house that burned down a year ago. There's the home of the family who keeps lights on the palm trees in their front yard year-round. They don't turn them on, they just leave them up, wrapped around the trunks waiting for their special time come December. Oh, look! Speaking of December, it's Menorah Man! He erects in his yard every year at Hanukkah a gigantic menorah, tiki lamps serving as the candles. I think he was in a rock band because he used to have long hair that he dyed brown. It's easy to tell when a man dyes his hair because it always look lame. He was either in a rock band or maybe he played a knight at the Medieval Dinner Theatre thing down by Disney. Either way he must not be doing it anymore because now his hair is short and grey. Here's the home of the Realtor lady. (Did you know you have to capitalize Realtor?) Her slogan is "I Move Houses." She also loves her Boxer dog and has a flag on the front of the house with a picture of her dog on it. Her husband is her helper and he goes around putting the "for-sale" signs on the lawns of the homes she's listed. I know this because his truck is always packed with for-sale signs. There's the dude who builds pools. When things are bad, like right now, he cleans pools. He told me he cleans Dwight Howard's pool twice a week. On Halloween he takes his kids around the loop while he pulls a wagon-load of beer. I'm going to ask him if I can join him this Halloween. And now we're coming around to my house. I'm probably known by the people on my street who don't know me as "the guy who's been home a lot these past few months."
Labels: economic downturn, freelance, monologue, neighbors, NPR, randomness, unemployment