05 August 2006

The Garage People(tm)

We have a house across the street from us that is a rental. This is not, in and of itself, anything particularly bad. The house and yard are well kept up (better than ours, lately*) and the renters who live there are not particularly loud, nor are they disrespectful of our property, so really, I shouldn't complain.

But ..

We call them The Garage People(tm) because they appear to live in their garage. And not just them - them and anywhere from four to a dozen or so of their friends. They have several chairs and at least one old car seat for folks to sit on, all arranged at the edge of the garage door facing the street. And they just.. hang out there.

We've speculated as to why they might live in the garage. We thought it might be because they don't have enough indoor furniture (or enough space) to comfortably seat all of their friends. Except that they're out there even when there are few enough of them that this should not be a concern. We thought it might be because it's cooler outside some evenings. Except that we think the house has central air conditioning. We thought it might be because they all wanted to keep the person grilling (on the relatively rare occasions that they grill) company. Except, as mentioned, they don't appear to grill with enough regularity for this to be a reason. We thought it might be so they could be closer to the beer fridge in the garage. Except I've observed that they seem to go in and out of the house for ice and other beverages regularly enough that I doubt that's it. The only possibility we've not dismissed for one reason or another is that the owner of the house won't let them smoke in the house, so they hang out in the garage so they can smoke with abandon. Which they do.

Again, they're not disruptive, nor are they loud enough for us to hear them except if we're also outside and then it's only a low conversational murmur and the occasional laugh or two. Even on the nights when they're out there until dawn (yes, nights, plural - we think they may be 3rd shift workers and are just trying to maintain a "normal" schedule for the work week), they aren't loud and you only notice they're there if you use the downstairs bathroom (which has a window that opens directly across from said garage). They don't leave a mess when they're out there, their friends park along the side of the street and never block anyone in, really, they seem to be rather nice folks. While some of their friends used to park on our side of the street when the bushes were still there, I've noticed they don't even do that now that we have a clear view of the side yard.

It's just.. odd.

A normal person would have introduced themselves to them months ago. But we didn't, so now it almost seems as though it would be presumptuous to walk over there some evening when they're gathered with friends or family or both just to say, "Howdy, neighbor." And there's also that little bit of.. privacy-protection on our part.. that bit where if we make the move to introduce ourselves, we'll have to actually *talk* to them whenever we see them and both of us are private enough (and have lived in larger cities where you really *don't* talk to your neighbors enough) that we're hesitant to breech that barrier.

Which pr'bly makes us the odd ones, I know, but c'est la vie.


*We had a Rather Large Thistle(tm) get out of hand last year. It propagated before we dealt with it, so we had a lot more thistles to deal with this year, including an entire patch that was about four feet tall by the time I even knew it was there (Jack mows the lawn and never thought to tell me about them and they live on the Other Side of the Fence(tm) that we never see unless we're mowing the lawn). I tried to poison them before they bloomed, but that was only so effective. (Actually it was quite effective on the smaller ones invading the lawn, but only caused parts of the big ones to turn slightly brown.) Tonight I donned long sleeves and not-quite-thick-enough gloves, took out three large lawn and garden trash bags and put them over the tops of the thistles (to prevent any of their little potential seed bits from getting knocked loose as I jostled the plants) and ripped the bastards out by the roots. So they're gone now, at least for now, but it was still one of those things that made me feel like a Bad Homeowner(tm).


Momo said...

Well a little mystery spices up life, but you should just go over one day and see what the garage is all about :-)

Anonymous said...

There are two houses in our neighborhood that do the same thing. The adults all sit around in the garage while the kids play in the yard. Then they put the kids to bed in the house and continue to hang out, and then later you'll see them carrying sleeping littles out to their cars when they go home. I actually think it's pretty cool. They're very social in a way that so few people are anymore. Certainly much more than the rest of our white-bread Anglo neighbors (both families are Hispanic). I wonder if it's a cultural thing? They're very friendly, and will very graciously turn down their music when asked, but we've only had to ask twice.


dread_ex said...

We did gather under the street light during your open house party like the "moth people" at WW.

It does sound odd but as long as they're not problems, like the crack dealers who lived next door to my mom in the old place.