December 10, 2008

The Blue Streak

My neighborhood is great! On one side of me I've got this sweet elderly couple and on the other side this awesome young family. Kids up and down the street, neighbors talking in the yard. It's your typical American middle class neighborhood. Except no mailboxes. We have the big ugly community mailbox which, as I think about it, keeps anyone from having a Nascar mailbox with flames on the side, attached to a big piece of wood that used to be part of a power line. Maybe I really like the community mailbox. Either way, my neighborhood is great.

But this past spring I began to feel like I was in a movie - one of those flicks where people start suspecting that their new neighbors are aliens or terrorists or something. I came home one day and this house caddy-corner across the street from mine had this freakish electric blue paint on it - just in one little spot. I thought, "That's weird!", and I went on about my business. But what was even more weird was that the blue streak stayed there....for days....for weeks....for several months. I just began to think that maybe someone took the whole "blue streak" metaphor a little too far. And then it happened.

One lovely day in the late summer/early fall I was driving down my street, coming home from work, when off in the distance I began to see something, almost like one of those hazy mirages you'd see on a 10-mile stretch of road in the hot desert. But as I got closer it began to get clearer. Holy crap. They painted the whole house electric blue. [Pause for a moment and try to visualize] In fact, one of the painters was still working on the side of the house. He looked like one of the guys from Blue Man Group (if that helps you grab hold of the color I'm talking about). 

I couldn't even pull in the driveway - I just sat there in front of my speechless awe. I glanced back down my street noticing that, while no house on the block (or in the neighborhood for that matter) was exactly the same, everything was painted some earth-tone. Everything just sort of went together. I began to go over in my mind all the possible things said in the conversation that ended with, "Ah yes! This is one. The color of my dreams." I came up with nothing.

I don't know the people in the electric blue house. I honestly never even saw them move into the house (adding to the whole alien-abduction movie feeling). I know people on the street have conversations about "the blue house" and "the people in the blue house" and "What were they thinking?" and so on. Honestly, it's dumbfounding. But I've begun wondering and asking myself, "Why haven't you marched your sorry backside over there and introduced yourself to your neighbors? Am I too busy? Will someone in a blue house even like a guy like me who lives in a house that's 3 shades of taupe? Why?"

Could it be that you don't want to like them because they disrupted your seemingly perfect little world? Could it be - as metaphorically nauseating as it is - that you're judging the inside by what the outside looks like? Is this really happening?

It's time to bake some cookies, gather the family, and go meet the electric blue family. Maybe they'll invite us in and we can throw paint on some timpani drums and bang them really loudly for hours. Well, it could happen.

I do know one thing: giving people instructions on finding my house has become a whole lot easier!

1 comment:

Keith said...

Can I call you Ray Peterson now? Tom Hanks from "The Burbs."

At least it's not next door.