On Tuesdays, somebody throws two newspapers at the foot of our driveway. One's for me, the other is for the only neighbor I have on this unmarked, dead-end road. It's one of those junky suburban papers that's mostly advertising. Good to wrap garbage in. I used to pick up one paper and leave the other where it had been flung.
But my neighbor, Shelley, picks up both papers, takes one, and tucks my copy between our roadside mailboxes. The paper is therefore handy, doesn't get run over, and doesn't get wet.
Shelley, who's my age, has lived here six months. She aint so fancy as I. She dint go to college. Speaks with a twang. Owns a truck, and a totally hot white Honda motorcycle, and a Husky dog. Two boyfriends compete for her affections. The one who wears a canvas jacket with a name patch came by today, Sunday, and shoveled shin-high snow off 100 yards of driveway.
I picked my way through the snow to say to him, not, "Hello, good afternoon, how are you, can I make you a coffee," or anything like that. I said, "You don't need to do that; I E-mailed the landlord to send the snowplow man . . . ."
He said, "Hello. H'are you, Divine. Good to see you. I was just in the neighborhood, this is my fourth driveway today, it don't bother me. . ."
I have zero boyfriends competing for my affections.
Shelley will phone me once in a while -- just to be neighborly! I'd been puzzled when she called me with, like, a hello and nothing else crucial to say! When coming or going in her truck, if she sees me outside, she stops and says hello! It took me a while to understand that waving is a sorry substitute for stopping to chat with a fellow human being.
She treats me like I'm human!
I'd better start acting like I am.