The Neighbor & My Phone

the neighbor

Unless you live in the deep country, you have a neighbor. Neighbors are good. In addition to borrowing something you thought you had for a recipe, they look out for you and you for them. Case in point, for almost 20 years, we haven’t locked our doors. Why? Because I have Karen Security. What’s Karen Security? She lives across the street and sees EVERYTHING. If there is a fire truck or ambulance even remotely close, she’ll immediately call me and ask what’s going on. As if I have my finger on the pulse of all emergency vehicles in a 5 mile radius.

Then there’s this neighbor:

So now I’m about to tell you a story about a new neighbor. Not necessarily full of hilarious content but more of a “I want to know what you would do” story. As I told my husband, this scenario has probably never been Googled in the history of Google.

The New Neighbor

I was walking my dog on a beautiful sunny day in July in front of the new neighbor’s house when I saw the elderly woman that had moved in.  She was standing in the shade, on the side of her house, propping herself up with a cane. When she did move, it was slow and cautious. She motioned for me to come closer and in extremely broken English, asked what my name was. After telling her my name, I asked for hers. I think she said Nia or maybe Knee? I couldn’t be sure but if the English name their kids after fruit, maybe other cultures name them after body parts? After all, isn’t that why men are named Dick? Anyway, I digress. From what I understood, they had moved here from Ghana! She spent a lot of time sitting on her front porch and from that day forward we would wave to each other anytime both of us were out.

My Phone

In October, I was walking my neurotic chihuahua (who won’t leave me the fuck alone as I write this) and walked by their home. Nia was out, standing in the same place she had been standing when we had introduced ourselves.

“Hey!” I yelled over, waving my free hand.

She lifted her head to acknowledge me, then raised her clenched hand, next to her ear. She made a motion I didn’t understand. I furrowed my brow in confusion as I crossed the street to ask her what she meant.

“I’m sorry, I don’t understand,” I called back.

“Phone, call sister.” she said, holding out her hand.

‘Was she in trouble?‘ I thought to myself.

In today’s age, if someone you don’t know asks to borrow your phone, they’re either in trouble or planning to steal your phone. Given a sloth would beat her in any race, I handed my phone over. She grinned, lurched to the porch, sat down and began to dial.

And so, I just stood there, and stood there…..and stood there. Although the language was unrecognizable, I’m pretty sure she wasn’t in trouble. If anything, she was having a lively, happy conversation with her sister…..on my phone.

After 4 minutes, I pointed to my watchless wrist. I was on my lunch and needed to get back to my computer. She raised her hand to basically tell me, ‘calm the fuck down Linda. I’ll give you the phone back when I’m good and ready.’

After a few more minutes, I again motioned that I needed to leave. Again, she raised her hand.

‘Did she just shush me…again?’ I thought. WTAF?

I was at a loss for what to do. We didn’t speak the same language and I’ve always been taught to respect my elders. Short of yanking it out of her hand, I had to just stand there. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, she finally handed the phone over. She thanked me, I nodded in acknowledgment, turned on my heel and ran back to the house. The last ten minutes played over in my mind.

Someone’s At the Door For You

Last Thursday, our doorbell rang. It was 9:30 in the morning so I figured it was just another delivery and quickly dismissed it. When I heard my husband continue to speak, I figured it was a salesperson.

“Angela, there’s someone here for you,” my husband called. I didn’t want to come downstairs to greet the person at the door. Why? Because this is how all Dateline or 60-Minute reports start off. Was it a long-lost half-sister my father had never told me about? Or maybe I was being served papers for a crime I had never committed. I go to great lengths not to answer my phone so to answer my door is anxiety-inducing.

Fortunately, I wasn’t being sued and it wasn’t my half-twin. It was worst. It was Nia and she wanted to borrow my phone. Tomorrow I’ll post the second chapter of this. I won’t spoil it but let’s just say, I’m still shaking my head in disbelief on what happened.


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