Sold on Suburbia

I spent my high school years living in small town America, and on a smaller scale, the “better” side of town. When I now watch suburban dramas like Desperate Housewives, I think back to where I used to live, my parent’s street, and only imagine what special brands of crazy lurks beyond the surrounding adobe coloring, the lawn that is just so, and the immaculately cleaned cars. And then I wonder about the times when it spills out onto the streets.

I helped sell my Dad’s truck yesterday, leaving be what that means, I did resolve a longtime mystery. After having the truck parked next to a bigger street overnight, around 10 o’clock the next morning we got a flurry of calls.

Driving out there, my Mom and I seal the deal with a fresh-faced boy, too clean to be a cowboy, yet with too much grit to be a jock. His very first vehicle purchase as he heads into high school, accompanied with his mother and his father, a county sheriff deputy.

As we make the arrangements for payment, the boy is to follow us to our house after he gets a deposit for the truck from the bank. The deputy pulls out a notepad from the beige pocket below his badge. I quickly write down the address to the house and hand it back to him. His eyes widen as he looks at my writing on the sheet.

“Oh that street,” he says with a bit of amusement and disdain. “Us cops do know that street. That’s the street we had to keep arresting that old, naked lady.”
My Mom and I flick our heads toward each other and murmur, “Ahhhh…ha!”

My bedroom used to face the street. Both my mother and I share the genetic inclination to be the typical old, neighborhood woman leaning out the window watching people, resting our elbows on ratty pillows. American decorum demands we be more discreet with our nosiness.

“Mom! Cops! Arresting someone!” I would yell, my index finger and thumb pulling apart the blinds and placing one eye into position, and my Mom would pounce into the room for updates and a chance to stick her eye out onto the street.

On the end of the cul-de-sac, we would watch, several separate instances over several years, as a little curly and grey haired dame in either pink bathrobes or worn T-shirts and clean denims would be carted away to the pokey. My Mom and I would muse her offenses. Drunk. Domestic violence. Chasing denizens of our sleepy neighborhood with a poker. My dad ventured a thought to an asylum escapee.

“We get calls with complaints with her walking around nekkid,” said the deputy, leaning back and starting to laugh, “We’d hear over the radio,” and he mimicked grabbing his radio on his hip, “That there was a call out for that street and you’d hear everyone else quickly jump on and say, ‘Oh, gosh, I’ve got traffic’ or ‘I’m, er, responding to a call..’”

My Mom and I start to laugh and he continues on with, “And there ain’t nothing there you want to see and you’re like, Lady, you’ve got to cover yourself.”

Most of the time our hobbyist voyeurism never really pays off with an actual story. I doubt the writers for Desperate Housewives would favor a naked old lady sub-plot, but maybe I should get on that.


15 Responses to Sold on Suburbia

  1. E says:

    Who needs to try to be voyeuristic these days when there is this thing called YouTube?

  2. K says:

    hehe, good ole c-town. Naked old women about sums it up!

    What are you doing there? do your folks still live there? Vising in the summer?


  3. To be fair to the old lady, there is something about this town that just makes you wanna take your clothes off. I have to fight the urge all the time, sometimes unsuccessfully.

  4. firewings says:

    Yeah, I fought that urge all the time in high school too…

    Er, what I mean is…um, I went to church. A lot.

  5. I don’t know what church you went to, but we were required to be naked.

  6. E says:


    “‘Cause then there was this boy whose
    Parents made him come directly home right after school
    And when they went to their church…”

  7. eatsbugs says:

    There was a part of the Vagina Monologues where an older lady talks about what she calls her genitals. I can’t remember what it was…maybe something like pussywillow or something….it was funny. You made me think of that.

  8. firewings says:

    I made you think of vaginas? Damn, I am good.

  9. K says:

    HAHA, E, I love that song! Crash Test Dummies FTW!

  10. eatsbugs says:

    That you are, my friend, that you are.

  11. chickdrummer says:

    Great story — loved the way you wrote about it.

  12. K says:

    did i see vagina somewhere?

  13. The Rebuker says:

    If you have to ask whether you’ve seen vagina, you weren’t paying close enough attention.

    I remember riding the school bus one day and driving by a woman wearing a short sweatshirt and nothing else getting sternly talked to by some police officers. I don’t think I’ve ever been drunk/high enough to strip down in public. Am I missing out on something?

  14. Thebutton says:

    Wow, I must say after watching that show, it has made me more of the “nosy neighbor”. Granted, when you live in a stairwell (ok now that sounds like I’m some sort of hobo) with 4 other families, you kinda know what’s going on. You hear the shouting down the stairwells and going through the floor/ceiling. And you get the MPs buzzing your house to get them up into the housing area as to not make your neighbors flee. Oh what interesting things once can see out the eyehole of their door. Nekkid old lady charging down a street…I could go my whole life without seeing that

  15. Erin says:

    nothin like old lady boobies to heat up a story!

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