I hate my neighbors. I just… HATE. THEM.

Okay, I don’t hate them all the time, but more and more often these days, I’m hating them. Across the street, we have the Alejandro family. Alejandro is not their last name, but it’s what we started calling them before we knew their last name (it’s one of the kids’ names), and so it has for the most part stuck. Mr. Alejandro can spend, I shit you not, 6 hours mowing and edging his postage stamp-sized lawn. He starts around noon on Saturday and as we’re sitting down to dinner around 5, he’s just getting around to sweeping the sidewalk by his house. I can tell that he’d really like to sweep not only the sidewalk by his house, but also the entire 1/2 mile length of the street besides. Anal does not begin to describe that man. I can only imagine what it’s like to live with him. "Your shoes are not lined up exactly, and what’s this?? A PIECE OF GRASS ON THE BOTTOM OF YOUR SHOE??? TO THE DUNGEON WITH YOU!"

Across the street from the Alejandros, catty-corner to our house, is the Jackson family (again, not their real name). They have a 6 year-old daughter who loves to ride her bike, but has to ride it within sight of the house (or so I assume), so she rides from their house, along the street to our house, turns around in our driveway and back to their house. Over and over and over 50 bazillion times a day. That doesn’t bother me much, though it does get rather hypnotic and then I’ll find that an hour has passed and I’ve been watching the little Jackson girl go backandforthandbackandforth. No, what bothers me about the Jacksons is that without fail, just as I’m approaching the couch to lay down with Miz Poo for a quick little catnap, Mr. Jackson, no matter where he is or what he’s doing, decides at that very moment to start up his car and turn the mega-bass stereo up as high as it can possibly go.

This afternoon he was all about J. Lo.

That’s okay though – the people came today to put in our termite protection system (or whatever the hell it’s called) and had to drill through cement.

At 8:30.

I hope it woke Mr. Jackson up.

The neighbors across from the Jacksons, next door to us, are the Kravitzs, whom we named after Mrs. Kravitz from Bewitched. No matter what we’re doing – pulling out of the driveway, getting the mail, watering the plants on the front steps – if Mr. or Mrs. Kravitz is outside, they stop whatever they’re doing and turn to stare at us and examine closely our every movement. They are apparently – hee! – bewitched by us and our fascinating lifestyle, that’s all I can figure.

That, or they’re thinking to themselves, "Are those the fattest people on earth, or what?" (Well, not anymore…)

The neighbors on the other side of the Alejandros we refer to as "The Reds", short for "That Redneck family". I am convinced that it’s only because of neighborhood rules that there aren’t broken-down piece of shit cars up on blocks in their lawn. According to Mr. Alejandro, who is not only anal, but also a gossip (The Anal Gossip will be the name of my first novel) told Fred that the Reds’ youngest daughter "has spells." No, I don’t know what that means, either. Their son (I think there’s more than one, but I’m not sure) is known as "pyro" – every neighborhood needs a pyromaniac, yes? – and their oldest daughter spends every free moment of her life sitting on the roof and smoking. When she’s not hanging out on the corner, watching traffic and making out with various and sundry boys, that is.

Their oldest son (like I said, I’m not sure if there’s more than one boy) has the LOUDEST FRIGGIN’ CAR. It’s an old one, and every freakin’ time he starts it up, the entire neighborhood shakes. And he doesn’t just start it up and go, oh NO NO NO, he starts it up and revvvvs the engine, and then he revvvvvs it some more until the windows in all surrounding houses are about to shatter, and then he SPEEDS off down the road.

This is why I want to buy 3,000 acres in the damn middle of nowhere.