Neighbors, Age Appropriateness, and Gladys Kravitz

I have a friend that is 23 years younger than me. I’m only a few years younger than her mother. Yet I’m not a mother figure at all to her. I’m a good friend. She lives in my neighborhood and we hang out in our neighborhood restaurants, bars, and stores.

We have a lot in common. We both love theatre, funky vintage clothes, Christian Louboutin shoes, Arctic Monkeys, yoga, a good cheese plate for dinner and a fine bottle malbec. The thing is, there is no generational gap. A wisdom gap, sure; generational, not at all. We have fun when we hang out. We don’t think about age. We just like to have a good time in life.

I remember when I was 23. A forty-six year old woman was old. She listened to the easy listening station on the radio which featured overly orchestrated instrumental versions of Beatles and Abba tunes, watched Murder She Wrote, ate at the Picadilly Cafeteria, and bought her shoes at Naturalizer. Me, now at forty-six myself, still have nothing in common with that woman.

My very best friend, (she lives in the neighborhood adjacent to mine) is on the edge of fifty. She wears True Religion jeans with see thru tops, Herve’ Leger dresses, loves yoga, mooches off my cheese plate at our neighborhood restaurant, believes in the healing power of a dirty martini, and cranks up Snoop Dog as high as it will go when she comes over to my house. We have no idea how fifty is supposed to act. We’re just us, hanging with our 23 year old neighbor, enjoying our favorite neighborhood restaurant, socializing, listening to good music and having great conversation.

Last night, I came home with The Ting Tings cranked up on my stereo, blaring as loud as my cheap factory radio would go, as I pulled into my carport at ten o’clock. I had had a good time out with my two girlfriends. I can’t help it if my next door neighbor’s window is adjacent to my carport, five feet away. She should understand my joie de vivre as she is only two months older than I am. Instead, her bedroom light came on, the mini-blinds parted, and I got a stern, “Turn that blasted music down, kiddies” look from her. Woops. I woke her up.

Like me, my next door neighbor is single yet she rarely goes out, thinks an occasional margarita brought home from the daiquiri shop is a wild night on the town, has begun dressing like a spinster, lives for Bunko night once a month, spies on the comings and goings at my house as if she were Gladys Kravitz with nothing to watch on tv, and for the life her can’t imagine why on earth I’d need to jet off to Paris for New Year’s eve when they show it on TV!

I have nothing in common at all with her. I’ve lived next door to her for ten years now. As much as I’ve tried to be a friend and include her in on my life and our other neighbors, it’s never happened. It’s never going to happen. There’s a generational gap there. It’s obvious, in our minds, we’re just not the same age!


Here I am at my first major event of the year – The Pulpwood Queen’s 10th annual Tiara Wearin' Girlfriend Weekend in Jefferson, Texas. And what a weekend it is starting out to be!

I’m staying in a cabin down on Caddo Lake, about 15 miles from Jefferson, with my best friend, Otis (see Side Cars are for Bitches) and my dog, Sadie. The cabin is cute and cozy. The cuteness refers to the plethora of charming frogs that decorate the abode. They’re freakin’ everywhere; so much so that Otis (notice I did not say Sadie) is scared to go into the bathroom now because the toilet paper holder in his lavatory is “staring at right at him with beady eyes” when he takes a dump.

“I swear that thing’s gonna fly off the wall and attack me when I…., you know,” Otis tries to express, “…when I… I shit! That thing ain’t right, ya know. Pure evil, I tell you. Evil!”

“You’ve seen way too many Bruce Campbell movies, dude,” I tell him.

“And Attack of the Killer Mutant Frog People from Savoire’s Swamp was one of ‘em!” Otis declares. “Have you looked outside lately?.... SWAMP!”

Great! Now I have to walk both Sadie and Otis outside. Lovely, just lovely. Don’t they know I’ve written a novel I’m trying to promote here and don’t have time for this?! Obviously, not. And needless to say, Otis don’t walk well on a leash.

I finally arrive at the kick-off dinner for Girlfriend Weekend at the beautiful and historic Excelsior Hotel. I am to be an author/waitress for the event this evening. There’s a reason why I am a writer and not a waitress – my skills in that department are a little lacking. If I wanted to be a waitress, I’ve always maintained, then I would have pursued acting instead. But here I am, donning a signed apron by all of us authors and finding myself taking tea and water orders along side such notable authors as Lt. Colonel Karl Lenker (Final Trumpet,) Jenny Gardiner (Winging It,) Karen Harrington (Janeology,) Ad Hudler (Man of the House,) and Pat Conroy (Prince of Tides, South of Broad,) who took to the job of waiter as if he’d been doing it all his life. I said, “Hey Pat, if the book writing business doesn’t work out for you, I think you might have found your calling!”

He laughed at that and entertained everyone with stories about his morally lenient friend,

Bernie. At the end of the night, Pat asked several of us, including me, for a signed copy of our books. The cute part was he had his checkbook in hand ready to write all of us a check for the cost of the book. Of course, we weren’t afraid the check bouncing, mind you. We were simply humbled at the request and more than ready to give him his copy free of charge. Still, he insisted on paying so we let him write one check and donated the money to literacy.

I arrived back at the cabin to find Otis planted on the couch in front of the History Channel, with Sadie by his side, guarding him against the invasion of the frogs that were plaguing our temporary residence. He seemed unphased and happy to be here.

But when I stepped out onto the screened porch to catch a glimpse of the lake in the moonlight and let Sadie outside, I noticed the reason for Otis’ bliss. There, on the backyard lawn, glowing in the soft moonlight through the cypress trees and moss, were each and every frog figurine. Quite frankly, it looked almost biblical. Otis had banished the frogs.