Friday, December 18, 2009

I fight my neighborhood, my neighborhood always wins

Sad but true: I have been utterly defeated by Ravenna. Or at least, defeated by my block in the unfashionable northern end of Ravenna.

If you recall, when we last spoke I had hatched the ingenius plan of forcing my neighbors to be neighborly through the distribution of holiday baked goods. So I put my beautiful new Kitchenaid to work and whipped up several lovely varieties of cookies, wrapped them up prettily, and put a tag on them that said what they were and and who they were from.

Then I set out to distribute them around the neighborhood on Tuesday evening. Sadly Mr. A didn't have time to come with me on this thrilling adventure because he was busily wrapping up gifts that needed to be sent out the door to his relatives. As it turned out, it didn't really matter, since only two of my neighbors were home--or at least, at home and answering the door. (I suspect other neighbors were at home--lights were on inside behind closed blinds--but I have no proof.) At those two houses, where the door was opened by first a middle-aged white guy and then a middle-aged white lady, pretty much the exact same scenario went down:

Neighbor (opens door a tiny crack and peers out suspiciously): Yes?
Me: Hi! I'm the Soggy Librarian. My husband and I live across the street. We've been doing some holiday baking and wanted to share some with you.
Neighbor (grabbing the cookies): Great. Thanks. Goodnight. (Door slams shut.)

Wha? Huh? REALLY? Really. You're not even going to introduce yourself to the visibly pregant lady standing in the rain offering you baked goods? Wow. Okay.

Of the neighbors who weren't home, only one (out of maybe 6 houses) stopped by later to say thank you. He lives next door and is the only neighbor we are already sort of on chatting terms with.

The kicker came when I ran into our other next-door neighbor on my way to the bus the next morning as he was leaving the house to walk his dog. I called out good morning, and not only did he not say thank you for the cookies, he didn't even say good morning back.

The thing is, Ravenna is a fairly nice neighborhood, and granted, we have pretty much the smallest and crappiest house in it, but still. I don't think our particular block is fancy enough to breed this kind of weird assholery. This is a gated community level of assholery. Don't you think?

But I'm not letting our crotchety neighbors harsh my holiday buzz. For one thing, I just called Delta to ask if I need to bring some kind of form from my midwives promising that I won't give birth on the plane (some airlines make you do this), and not only did she say I didn't need any documentation, she was quite nice about it! A Delta representative! So you see, there really is such a thing as a Christmas miracle.

Or I guess really a Hannukah miracle, eh? We're invited to a Hannukah dinner tonight and I'm so excited. Any festival that's mostly about fried food and candles is a-okay with me.

Okay, one last thing. Have you seen this? It made my holiday season just a little bit brighter.


arajane said...

Ok, first of all, your neighbors are total poops and they give my beloved Ravenna a bad name. As a fellow Ravennian, I invite you down to my neck of the woods, where, even as a complete stranger, if you knocked on my neighbors' doors they would all greet you graciously and delight in your home baked goodies. And they would probably invite you in and share some eggnog or wine. And they would definitely give you a hearty hello at any time of the day.

Secondly, I love that clip from Conan. Two of my favorite religions, combined into one funny song. Yay!

Librarian Girl said...

You are in some sort of weird vortex of Ravenna-dom, indeed, and for that I am sorry. That suxs, dude. I do heartily admire your staunch stand of niceness. I think I would give up.

I'm glad Delta was nice to you, especially in light of past treatment.

Linda Johns said...

I wonder if the neighbor who grabbed the cookies and slammed the door shut is perhaps the owner of an ill-behaved dog who would knock down the neighborly pregnant woman and eat all the baked goods in less than 1.32 seconds. Or perhaps the neighbor is apprenticing assholery from your other neighbors. OR perhaps you shocked them and they are all having their own (inside their homes) conversations right now about how maybe it IS possible to be neighborly.
You should try caroling and bringing the tappernacle choir with you.

Make!Do! said...

I'm not saying PNW peeps are not friendly - but when we first moved to the Upper South, I did go into cardiac arrest every time someone simply walking past me on the street here - strangers!- and said Hello. Now, if a complete stranger walks by me and doesn't both wave and ask how I'm doing, I angrily mutter "What an asshole!"
But seriously, when that stranger comes bearing cookies, there is no reason good enough. None.
(On a related Seattle note, the parents of one of our duplex neighbors are in town from Seattle for the holidays and when they met us this afternoon, including Simone the Mom said, "Oh, I get to meet the little girl I could HEAR first thing this morning". And my first thought was " You are SO from the PNW"
Which isn't fair because, how would I then explain you or Ara Jane?

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with people? Oh, that's right, they're people. I commend your efforts at neighborliness and I'm sorry they were wasted on such un-neighborly jerks.

librarianista said...

Thanks you guys. I guess I just need to spend more time in mid-to-south Ravenna where Arajane and LG live and the sun always shines!

I felt kind of bad after I posted this--it's not that I want all my neighbors to be super grateful for my mediocre baked goods or anything. I just want them to tell me their names.

You know MD, I've lived in the PNW for nearly 10 years and yet I guess in terms of waving-on-the-street expectations, I'll always be a Southern girl at heart.

bellcurves said...

I can't believe what happened to you--that sucks! Do you think it was the "Seattle Freeze"? I have only read/heard about it before, but I never knew if there was truth to that rumored phenomenon. I do not live in the NW, but my guess is that it probably depends quite a bit on who you know and who you're surrounded by. I know a number of people who either live or have lived in the NW, none of whom have ever experienced the "freeze" (in fact, quite the opposite--they met a lot of great people and made fantastic friends, many of whom were local, but many of whom also happened to be new transplants in town). And my guess is that that there MUST be neighborhoods where people are friendly and gracious and welcoming. Next year, you should go take your cookies to Ara Jane's street/neighborhood, or organize/attend a cookie swap/cookie exchange party.

JadeEJF said...

Well, poop on that! You can bring your baked goods right on over to our sketchy Fremont block, and we'll invite you in. If only to protect you from the scary people across the street. I think I would die of terror if some obviously pregnant woman were out on our street alone handing out baked goods. Anyway, I'm not from the south, but if you ever knock on our door, we'll be happy to invite you in! :)

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