One thing I was looking forward to about getting my own place was that I would also get my own neighbors, as I have been lead to believe that good neighbors become good friends. From the wisdom of Wilson & Mr Feeny, the comedy value of Ned Flanders & Kramer or the possible romantic potential of Penny (and to a lesser extent Mrs Dubcek) television has taught me that neighbors are awesome. And I was determined to be a good neighbor myself, to the point where everything I do in this house, be it hoovering, playing my guitar or getting drunk on my own at 3am, I always think in my head “I hope I don’t disturb the neighbors”.
So with that in mind I invited round for a cup of tea, as is the custom. Beforehand I went out and bought biscuits and a biscuit barrel especially for the occasion, I was set for a really nice ‘getting to know you’ type evening. They are a youngish married couple (I’d say mid-thirties, I’m crap with judging ages), they seem quite bohemian & really nice. Have a ton of stuff in common and it was a really nice evening. However there was one subject that seemed to dominate most of the discussion: What I had done with each room.
Now this was partly because we live in identical houses so I think they were quite interested in the different set ups I have in each room. However I also think it’s because the pair of them are…well, the only term I can think to describe it is ‘housey’, they are clearly interested in home improvement and things of that nature. Unfortunately I couldn’t really contribute much as to be honest most choices I made around the house were either due to practicality, suggestions from the parents, or just on a whim. So the only thing I could bring to the table was a lot of nodding. I mean they even talked about my kitchenware, it’s this make called Denby which is apparently really good? All I know is it’s the set my Auntie gave me a few years ago because it didn’t match her colour scheme anymore, it’s been in my parents loft in a box. In fact a lot of my stuff is just hand me downs from the family, my cutlery was a set my Granddad won in a St Johns Ambulance competition.
Not that there’s anything wrong with being ‘housey’, it’s something that they’re clearly very passionate about and you can tell. Their garden is just so well kept & beautiful, you can really tell they’ve put a lot of years of work into it. Whereas mine has been reclaimed by nature, still trying to decide whether or not to let it keep it.
But I can’t help but wonder, will this happen to me in time? I’ve already noticed the odd thing dropping into conversation with friends. In addition to the usual topic of theories about films & games, occasionally it shifts to such topics as house insurance, council tax and lighting fixtures. Is this what happens when you get older? I feel like some kind of slow body horror transformation is going on sometimes!
Instead of knowing what the latest events are in the Marvel universe, I now know what colours go well with my living room curtains. Instead of playing on my games console for hours on end, I’m cleaning my bathroom in time to Electric 6 tracks. In the process of becoming a home owner I’ve picked up a lot of useless knowledge & skills that in the whole hunter/gatherer survival scenario will not help me on bit! If my brain was like my Internet History this knowledge would be gone to make room for some much more useful/interesting stuff.
However I’m discovering that this is what growing up is: It’s not like a level up where you suddenly ‘ding’ and have access to all this responsibility & head trash, it’s a slow gradual change in perspective that has to happen to all of us in time. Although admittedly I’ve ended up having it thrust upon me slightly quicker than I thought I would have.
Cracked columnist John Cheese in his article 5 Changing Perspectives That Show You’ve Become An Adult puts it way better than I ever could:
“The truth is, adulthood doesn’t pour down on you like a pop-up thunderstorm. It’s more like walking through a slow drizzle, the mist gradually building up on your clothes until you suddenly realize “Holy shit, I’m soaked. When did that happen?”
So I’m going to keep trying to get to the grips of this ‘housey’ thing, while still trying to maintain the Cool Geek image that I’m so fond of. While also trying to be a good neighbor. Hey, if I end up having a wild party I’ll just invite them to it, I can show them my salad spinner!
ADDITIONAL: One evening they surprised me with a housewarming gift, I got a nice homemade card and this…
I think we’re going to get on just fine.