Humiliation, suburban style

NS April 28th, 2010

Inspired by More Than Just a Mother’s post on getting trapped in her newly-constructed chicken run, which, to her embarrassment, her neighbour most likely saw, I found myself reflecting on the myriad strange things my own neighbours have seen at this madhouse.

First, let’s start with our house-warming party, which fell near Halloween. We decided to have a gathering for Noble Girl’s little friends from play group during the day and invited our neighbours to drop by then too. Small talk while the children played and looked adorable in their costumes seemed like a good enough ice-breaker. We invited some of our friends ’round for a boozy costume party later in the evening as well, of which I informed our neighbours when I knocked on their doors, to warn them of the possible noise.

The day went well, though I was a bit disappointed when only one out of the four families we’d invited showed up to say hello and introduce themselves. I’d already known that the family on our immediate right wasn’t coming since they’d informed me that their Christianity prevented them from attending a Halloween party (I know, I know; I was surprised too and only just managed to not make a sarcastic remark about burning pentagrams on the lawn and sacrificial goats), but I was surprised that the two families to our left, both couples with children in their late-teens/early-20s, hadn’t shown since they’d seemed so enthusiastic about coming.

Later that night, dressed as a Murderous Prom Queen complete with bloody tiara and sash, I opened the door breezily with a cocktail in my hand, expecting one of our friends. Instead, I was greeted by the sight of the rest of our neighbours, potted plants and bottles of wine in hand. I stood mute, dumbstruck. They must have confused my invitation to drop by during the day with my mention of a party later that night. Cue desperate attempts to make respectable conversation while ignoring the fact I had on a rather ridiculous get-up that showed more cleavage than I would ever consider stepping out of the house with.

So that was their introduction to the Noble family. Fabulous.

In the two and a half years that have followed, things have carried on in much the same vein. They got to see Noble Girl run naked around the garden during the potty learning phase, intermittently stopping to squat and pee; they’ve had our cat sneak into their house so often that they’ve given up trying to keep her out and have semi-adopted her as their own; they happened to be getting into their car the one time I thought I could nip outside super quickly, in just my knickers and a long t-shirt, to put a particularly odoriferous nappy in the bin; and they heard every little bit of the last hour or so of Noble Boy’s birth, in which I let loose rather operatic-sounding noises from the dining room, with windows open wide.

But perhaps most cringeworthy of all was when my neighbour was handed the biohazard bucket my placenta had been temporarily placed in, dried blood and all, when they came over to see the baby a couple days later — NG had found it in a corner of the garden, where we’d put it for washing but which we’d promptly forgotten about until she put it in my neighbour’s hands. The look of  horror on his face when he realised what it was, masked by neighbourly politeness, will remain etched in my memory forever more. I didn’t dare tell him that what had once been in that bucket was now in our freezer, knowing he would never accept a drink requiring ice from us ever again, not to mention invitations to come over for a roast or stew.

There’s also the time we had put up a large marquee for a barbecue last summer and left it up overnight after a long drinking session. When I stumbled downstairs the next morning in my dressing gown to get water and headache pills, I looked out the back door just in time to see the pissing rain and high wind rip the (borrowed) marquee up out of the ground and send it tumbling arse over tits (as it were) across the lawn, onto the shed and nearly out of our garden entirely. I ran outside in my robe and slippers, face still smeared with last-night’s make-up and breath undoubtedly smelling like the floor of a pub after a 24 hour lock-in. And who just so happened to be out in his shed and jumped over the fence to help me wrangle the runaway marquee while I tried to keep my dressing gown from flapping open in the breeze? You guessed it.

Aside from the standard screaming (from the children) and shouting (from all of us) that they undoubtedly hear every day, we hadn’t had an embarrassing incident involving our neighbours for about a year and I thought maybe we’d broken the curse. But then Easter Monday happened.

At about 10.30am there we all were in the living room, still lounging in our pyjamas after a nutritious breakfast of chocolate followed by more chocolate. I started to tidy up and asked NG to open the door for me as I had my hands full of plates and Easter egg wrappers but she kept saying it was stuck. Thinking she was being ridiculous, I put the plates down and tried it myself. It wouldn’t budge. I looked at the lock and sure enough I could see that it had somehow slid all the way across, even though the key was on the other side of the door. The only explanation was that it had been nearly turned when we shut the door and the jolt of closing had made it turn all the way, locking us in. Utterly preposterous. I sighed and wondered why these things always happened to us.

Unfortunately, we had neither a phone nor a front door key in the same room so even though our small top window was unlocked we had no way of getting through it or even through our own front door. The Noble Husband wondered briefly if we could trust NG to go knock on the neighbours’ door if we lifted her out the window but that plan was quickly scrapped as we envisioned her running gleefully down the street in her pyjamas instead, her bare feet and chocolate-smeared face sure to get her taken away by social services were she to be found. Instead, NH flagged down a passing dog-walker and explained our situation.

“Um, hi, excuse me! Could you help us please? We seem to be locked in our living room and we don’t have a key to let ourselves out or a phone to call for help. Would you be so kind as to give next door a knock and ask them to come over with the spare key to free us?”

I really wish I was joking but those were pretty much his exact words.

Two minutes later our neighbours’ son, who was home from uni and whom we’d only met once, appeared with the key, let himself in and then released us from our four-walled, chocolate wrapper-strewn prison.

So I have to wonder: what’s next? Are they going to somehow walk in on me on the toilet? Will our bed go slamming through our adjoining bedroom walls in a moment of frenzied passion, sending plaster and lingerie flying, like often happens in comedic films? Will I make a derisory joke about David Cameron and then find out they are Tory voters? The multitude of humiliations are too many to contemplate.

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31 Responses to “Humiliation, suburban style”

  1. Gappy says:

    Oh thank you Noble Savage for the laughs this morning.

    A murderous prom queen? That can only be described as pure genius. I’m sure they all thought so too.
    Gappy´s last blog ..Seven Things You Didn’t Know About Me. My ComLuv Profile

    NS Reply:

    @Gappy, I was actually the murderous runner-up. My sash said ‘Runner up’ and was then crossed out and said ‘Winner’ in blood. The crown on my head had strands of a different colour hair hanging off it, as if it had been ripped from my opponent’s head. Yes, I have strange taste in Halloween costumes.

  2. jen says:

    you know how some friends just *always* seem to have the funniest/most bizarre stories? the kind of stories that you find yourself tellling other people, as if you wish they’d happened to you, because they are just that funny?

    you, my dear, are that friend.
    jen´s last blog ..a. thomas maddock, 1917 – 2010 My ComLuv Profile

    NS Reply:

    @jen, I take that as a very high compliment, I hope you know. I’m glad someone can laugh at my misfortune. Did I ever tell you about the time I got into a taxi with two neo-Nazis, one of whom had just been released from prison? Again, I wish I was joking. It never ends…

    jen Reply:

    @NS was that the one who licked you? or am i confusing it with another bizarre story of yours? ;)
    jen´s last blog ..a. thomas maddock, 1917 – 2010 My ComLuv Profile

    NS Reply:

    @jen, That’s the one!

  3. Iota says:

    Hilarious. And for the moment, I’d stay away from political jokes. They’re in the same category as asking a woman with a big tummy “when is it due?”

    What did you do with the placenta, by the way?
    Iota´s last blog ..Associations Part ll: politics for children My ComLuv Profile

    NS Reply:

    @Iota, Oh, I have way too much class (ahem) to make political jokes around people if I’m not sure how they’re voting. And funny you should say that about the “When is it due” question because I just had a man ask me if I was pregnant yesterday (I’m not). I know I’ve not got a washboard tum or anything but I was a bit shocked, I must say! I look about three months at most. ;)

    Placenta stayed in freezer with intentions of being planted the following spring but we ended up getting rid of it after that never happened and was taking up too much room.

    Iota Reply:

    @NS, That’s appalling that someone asked that. How horrible.

    I love that you’re enough of an earth mother to intend to plant the placenta, but not so deeply committed that you can’t give up your plans for the sake of more space for the fish fingers (even home-woven ones, as I’m sure yours all are).
    Iota´s last blog ..Associations Part ll: politics for children My ComLuv Profile

    NS Reply:

    @Iota, A lazy earth mother…that is exactly what I am. I love it! Oh, and manufactured fish fingers all the way, baby! One thing I’m not is a good cook.

  4. beta dad says:

    I wish my neighbors would do entertaining stuff! The only amusement we get is the 90+ year old guy who climbs up on the roof and puts a step ladder at the peak so he can reach the top of his fruit trees.
    beta dad´s last blog ..RTT: What I Understand about Sports, Part I My ComLuv Profile

    NS Reply:

    @beta dad, Wow, that’s pretty entertaining! You should take bets on when he’ll break a hip doing that.

  5. You sound like good fun, can I move next door?
    Very Bored Housewife´s last blog ..Culling Part 2 My ComLuv Profile

    NS Reply:

    @Very Bored Housewife, Sure! You can replace the religious folk who are scared of our Halloween parties. ;)

  6. andrea says:

    thanks so much for the laughs this morning. i’ve heard all of these stories but never tire of reading them again and envisioning the scenes you describe so well. i think it runs in the family to have odd things happen to us, don’t you?
    andrea´s last blog army who? My ComLuv Profile

    NS Reply:

    @andrea, I really do think it’s genetic.

  7. Iota says:

    Our next door neighbour’s cat is very curious, and often comes into our house. I am not very cat-tolerant, and I find it irritating. The last time it happened, I had a friend here who (a) is allergic to cats, and (b) had brought her dog with her. The dog and the cat stood and looked at each other. The dog went wild with barking, straining at the lead. The cat’s hackles rose. I couldn’t resist saying “Kill the cat! Go on, Buster. Kill the cat! Kill! Kill!” I had shooed the cat out of the house, and we were on our front lawn, and guess who was standing on their front lawn…
    Iota´s last blog ..Associations Part ll: politics for children My ComLuv Profile

    NS Reply:

    @Iota, I felt really bad when they told me the cat was going in their house but they insisted they were fine with it. After awhile I realised they actually love it. They get a part-time pet without any of the responsibility of vet bills or cat food or litter tray cleaning and I don’t feel so bad for not having enough time for poor kitty — it’s a win-win situation, really!

  8. MTJAM says:

    Your placenta took up too much room? Just how big was it?
    Excellent stories, I am honoured to have inspired such a great post.

    NS Reply:

    @MTJAM, HUGE. The midwife wanted to send it to the placenta museum for an exhibit on behemoth birth organs but I wouldn’t allow it. ;)

    And thank *you* for making me laugh with your stories of being as hopeless as me sometimes. It’s good to know I’m not alone.

  9. Nova says:

    Thank you, thank you…I took a mini break from mountains of paperwork and have just have a little giggle to myself over this. Sorry, I shouldn’t laugh but this sounds like the little scrapes that I’ve got into before. Do you ever say, “Why us?” “Why me?” who else manages to lock themselves into their own lounge? Hehe….and like some of the other commentators I could do with a neighbour like you. ;0)

    NS Reply:

    @Nova, I often say that. Seriously, who else can manage to lock themselves inside their lounge? It really boggles the mind.

  10. Hilarious! Love the image of you blasting through your bedroom wall in the heat of frenzied passion. We’ve heard our neighbors at it a couple of times and feared this very occurence.

    The Noble Family surely adds some well needed spice to the block.

    I fear I gave my neighbors a thrill the other night while pumping breast milk with the blinds open. Ooops.
    Tanya (Bump2Basics)´s last blog ..A Day at the Races My ComLuv Profile

    NS Reply:

    @Tanya (Bump2Basics), Did you moo when they saw you? ;)

  11. Lyn says:

    It all started when you were very young and locked yourself in a dressing room at JCPenney and I had to get a manager to get your 2yr old self out of there. And the time you and your little sister knocked over a tie rack in Sears and we scrambled out quickly leaving about 500 or so ties lying in a heap. There was also the time when you were two that you thought it very funny when you locked me out of the house when I took the garbage out, but not so funny when I had to go to the neighbor’s to get tools to take the hinges off the screen door. Of course, there were all those times when we had friends over that you would strip down and rip off your diaper to go streaking through the house with a devilish grin. And if memory serves me well, there was an embarrassing moment at the doctor’s office when you were two when you looked at a Norman Rockwell picture hanging on the wall of a doctor listening to a child’s stuffed animal with a stethoscope and you proclaimed very loudly “Look Mom, the doctor’s got a ‘heart’ on”. God only knows what the patients in the other exam rooms thought! And so, my dear, this was your fate. Just laugh and let laugh!

  12. Hilarious. I particularly love the placenta story…I bet he won’t be angling for a BBQ invitation.
    nappyvalleygirl´s last blog ..Portrait of a Force of Nature My ComLuv Profile

  13. troutie says:

    I’m so glad its not just me…….
    troutie´s last blog ..I used my child as a human shield (and God is punishing me for it) My ComLuv Profile

  14. Heh heh. Morticia Adams eat your heart out (which is probably exactly what the christian neighbours imagined you would be doing!)
    angelsandurchinsblog´s last blog ..Returning home to secret post My ComLuv Profile

  15. lori day says:

    Yes Virginia, it is genetic! I have a lot of situations also. but I loved it when I got to see something happen to my neighbor, he was locked out of the house in his underwear! He was supposed to take out the garbage all evening, but didn’t. When he got in bed his wife told him again, so in his anger, he jumped up, got the garbage, ran outside in his drawers, but she had locked the door behind him and wouldn’t let him back in until he said he was sorry for being so mad about it. Don’t know how that night ended up once he was back inside.

  16. troutie says:

    I have given you an award. If you aren’t into these things I am a very understanding blogger.
    troutie´s last blog ..Portrait of a Curious Trout My ComLuv Profile

  17. Luschka says:

    Oh, this made me laugh! So funnily written!
    Luschka´s last blog ..Calpol – What Every Parent Should Know My ComLuv Profile