For years I’ve been the youngest person on my block by about two decades. As a new mom with small babies I used to envy my girlfriends who, either through luck or better planning, lived on a block with other people their age. I had plenty of girlfriends in town, just not a pleasant stroll away. Everyone on my block was middle-aged or older. Let some young people move on to the block, I wished to myself.
This month, some did. Unexpectedly, my neighbor across the street, who I’m pretty sure settled this block with the Pilgrims, left the house she’s owned for like 40 years to her son. He was a teenager when I moved here 15 years ago. My memory of him is as a freckle-faced boy going off to high school. Now he’s a married man with a baby on the way. And he’s the young neighbor I’ve been waiting for.
I found out in the most pleasant way possible. He used his snow blower on my driveway during a recent snow and then told me the news. Ah, to have a young man to do some heavy lifting around these parts! And a baby too! I was excited.
Then the construction began. That’s to be expected, I reminded myself. I tried to maneuver around the construction vehicles that parked right across from my driveway on our street already narrowed by piles of snow. I listened as the young man guffawed with his buddies as they helped him drag out debris and drag in furniture. I tried not to wonder how two people could have four cars. My usually quiet dead-end street bustled with activity.
What finally broke my attempt at positivity, for some odd reason, was their television. My older neighbor had always kept hers against a wall perpendicular to the window, invisible from the street, as is mine. My new neighbor brought in an enthusiastically young TV – that thing must be 84 inches at least – and put it on the wall across from the window facing my living room. It is so bright and so pointed right at me that when I sit on my couch I can make out the pimples on the stars of the MTV shows they’re watching over there.
Grumbling, I drew my blinds.
I mentioned to my daughter, “I’ve always wanted a young family to move on the block, but now that one is here I’m not sure how I feel about it.”
“Oh, I know you, they’re going to totally drive you crazy. Just wait until the summer when they start having parties and people start coming to visit the baby.”
I shuddered. That kid has a way of shaking me to my very core.
So now we have young people living across the street. I just didn’t realize that by the time it happened, I’d be the old lady on the block.