The Old Crank Down the Street is sitting over there next door right now.
On my neighbor’s porch out front of the store. Right through those trees. (If I had moved to the right a little, you would have a clear view. I didn’t want him to see me taking his picture, so I opted for Tree Obscura.) I walked out of the cabin a few minutes ago and he immediately looked over to see what I was doing. Stared. Crank and Other Crank sit there all morning every day. Watching, and commenting on anyone they can see. Each chapter of this Judgement of the Neighbors goes for ten or fifteen minutes. “Did you see how she re-did that siding? What a mess. Who was the contractor? He ought to be ashamed of himself, letting her put up a color like that.” The siding in question is grey. Plain old grey. Or, “She’s not very friendly. I don’t have much to do with her, a woman like that. Won’t even say hello.”
Well, no wonder. She doesn’t like you. You talk about her and she knows it. You talk to and about all of us out both sides of your face, and we all know it.
And now I’ve learned. People ignore the Cranks. While the Miserable Old Farts Club meets, from about 8:30 to 10:30 each day, all the neighbors stop going to the store. A daily retail hiatus. Yesterday, I had to go in. Went in, said good morning, came out without a word and walked right past them over to my friend’s house down and across the road. And when I came back, I purposely stayed on the other side of the road until I got back to my house.
All the neighbors in view of the Gossip Porch have planted tall perennials so The Cranks can’t see onto their property. Sounds crazy? I planted mine this morning. In fact, my friend across the street gave me a bunch. “I need something to block that view,” I mentioned. They stare all morning.
“Oh, honey. I have just the thing. You take a pot full of those bulbs. They grow about seven feet tall.”