Sunday, Gabriella took the boys to Queens to hang out with Zia and Zio gifting me an afternoon alone. By myself. With no one around. Sola. Does absence make the heart grow fonder, or is a single afternoon an insufficient amount of time to allow the heart to pine? Answer: insufficient, but I’ll take what I can get!
My neighbour called me at about 4:30pm with news that she, too, was on her own that afternoon. The rest of her family was out and about, and she wanted to know what I was doing. She had left-over food and champers from a brunch she hosted earlier, and she insisted, nay, FORCED me to come over and partake. I tried to resist, but she reminded me that she knew where I lived, so I had to surrender and drink with her. Well, I couldn’t have her drink alone. That wouldn’t be cricket. Besides, I had enjoyed a few good hours on my own and didn’t mind making the spontaneous decision to drop what I was doing and join my neighbour for a tipple. Children are the number one killers of spontaneity, so it was imperative that I do something spontaneous while I had the chance.
I arrived as she was struggling with a champagne cork that she had been working on for ten minutes. “Cheap champagne. Hard cork. I hate to say this,” she confessed, “but we need a man. I can’t get this open, and the damn thing’s gonna blow if we don’t get some fella to pop our cork.” So, the two of us skipped out on to the middle of our little road and announced:
“We need a man!”
My straight lady-friend did not appreciate the humour in this scene as much as I did and was frustrated that we sisters weren’t doing it for ourselves. Straight girls are such earnest little feminists. I don't mean to sound condescending. Some of my best friends are earnest, straight feminists. When it comes to alcohol, I don’t care who opens the box - - I mean the bottle, let’s just get the job done. Can I get an “Amen”?
As luck would have it, a man-folk neighbour was home with his wife and infant twin babies. “Let’s get Pappa to do it!” I suggested. “He’s probably feeling particularly emasculated these days having to change diapers and swaddle. We’ll tell him we need the brute strength of a real man and make his day.” We practiced a few Wilma and Betty titters, added some coquettish eye-bats and then made our way to his house.
The Mrs. answered. “We need a man!” No questions asked. She paged her husband and delivered him directly to us. My neighbours are good that way. We subscribe to “what’s mine is yours” round these parts.
He got the job done, and the first neighbourhood porch session of the season commenced. You can’t ask your neighbour to open a bottle of champagne and not invite him and his family over for a drink. That wouldn’t be cricket, either.
After a drink or two, we spied another young man-folk neighbour coming home from a wedding he had just crashed. He was in a jolly mood (must have been an open bar) and thought it best to join us. At some point, our host referred to my blog, and our wedding crasher needed to reacquaint himself with it. “What’s the name of your blog, again?” he asked sipping the Pabst Blue Ribbon beer that he brought himself. “Is it Peaches and Cream?” “That sounds dirty,” giggled our host. “Well, it’s not exactly written for younger readers,” I admitted. “And because I don’t always use the most wholesome of language, a lot of internet surfers find my site because they're searching for dirty words and dirty people doing dirty things.” “Really? How do you know?” “Occasionally, I can see the exact words or phrases that people google when they accidentally trip over my site. I’m getting the sloppy seconds of another peach named Peaches."
At that very moment, our host’s family returned home and joined us on the porch. With children present, I had to speak in code which was a fun little exercise. Brought me back to those more closeted days. I had to come out so I could stop skirting around pronouns.
"You know that industry made popular by magazines and hotel pay-per-view?” ”YES!” shouted our recently-single, jolly neighbour who seemed to be well acquainted with said industry. “Does it start with a ‘P’?” “Yes, that’s it. There is a star within that industry who plays on my team...apparently. Because we both um, enjoy sushi, and because of our identification with the peach, and because I use a bit of bedroom language, many fans of said industry star find their way to me looking for all sorts of interesting activities. I’m sorry I ever blogged about my thumb is all I’m going to say.”
I let my neighbours imagine for themselves the kind of results that could come from searching for lesbian, peach and thumb. I think they may have come up with some doozies by the looks on their faces.
I watched Gabriella pull up in our driveway, and it was time for me to take leave of my neighbour’s porch. A fine day, indeed. A long walk. A long, hot shower. Some delicious nibbles. A bit of reading. A bit of writing. And spontaneous drinking and dirty talk on my neighbour’s porch. The world may be crumbling around us, but all is well in my little pocket of suburbia.