How to be The "Center of Attention" In Your Neighborhood
Miami, FL., City Landscape--everything looks the same
Hello, "Albert," you lucky guy
The time: The future. 2014. Summer
The scene: in “Albert Henson’s” front yard.
One beautiful summer morning you are sitting quietly in your front yard sipping coffee and dwelling on your retirement, where you worked for 30 years, the friends you had at work and what you got in return for your dedication and sacrifice: Your beautiful two-story house, so pristine. Although your house looks exactly like all of the other homes in your neighborhood, you don’t mind. You made the last mortgage payment last week, so it’s your house and your time now. Time to live life your way.
Your lovely wife, “Leonna,” walks out of the front door sipping her coffee and cream and sits down with you to enjoy the (many hours to come) of your retirement. An hour passes. You both are finished with your coffee. No conversation. Another hour passes. Still, no conversation. You let go a drowsy yawn, a long yawn to be exact, and you tell “Leonna,” “Think I’ll ease back into the house and take a nap.”
Give children rides (with parents' permission) on your bike
Most neighborhoods look just like
"Getting in a rut," is as subtle as a viper
“Leonna,” is surprised. “Albert,” she says sharply. “It’s only 9:30 in the morning. What’s with you? How long have you been sitting out here?”
She is sure full of questions. You just hope you can remember them all so you can answer her. “Since 6:30 this morning, dear. I was still in my habit of getting up at 4:30, showering, dressing and taking my coffee out here before I went to work,” you reply hoping “Leonna’s” curiosity will be satisfied.
“Leonna,” covers her anger well as she gets up from her pink and white lawn chair and starts toward the house.
“Hello, ‘Al,’ and ‘Leonna,’” “Mr. Johnston,” an insurance salesman of 22 years says as he heads out for another day of turn-down’s, lies from potential-clients, and his daily-chewing from his boss.
“Al” and “Leonna,” both wave at “Mr. Johnston,” as he drives his blue Camry out of sight in no time.
As you start to unwind and stretch yourself on the lovely leather couch that your only son, “Tim,” got you and “Leonna,” last Christmas, and it feels great to not have to jump when your now-former boss yells. You feel your muscles start to relax. It will not be long until you are fast-asleep.
"We are lucky to live here."
"Albert" works for the answer
“Albert Henson,” “Leonna,” bellows. “If you think this is how your retirement will go, you have another thing coming.” She says while clearing the dining table of their few dishes left from last night.
“But, but, . . .I, uh,” you stammer. You have not seen “Leonna” like this in years. “Leonna, dear, I know. I know. We are going to travel, visit the grandkids in New Mexico and just do what we want,” you explain hoping with each word that she will quieten-down.
“Let me have an hour to think, ‘Leonna,’ for I have been thinking of a rather unorthodox plan for you and I in this neighborhood and, well, I can tell that boredom is eating at you like a gray wolf, so I will be in my workshop and I will be back in an hour.” You say as you are now trotting to the door in the kitchen that leads down a stairway and then to your pride and joy: Your New England-style workshop—complete with wood lathe, turning blades and other manly appliances. You get sad all of a sudden for in all of the years you have had this prize-winning workshop, the only thing you have made was a miniature rocking horse with three legs due to it falling from your car truck when you delivered it to her.
She hasn’t spoken to you for over seven years. Grudges, right?
At dinner that night, you are excited as a kid on Christmas Eve. You and “Leonna,” sit the table and then serve each other the dinner that “Leonna” has been microwaving most of the last hour. And it really smells great compared to that turpentine you have been inhaling for most of the afternoon.
You hold “Leonna’s” hand as you say grace over the meal. You might be a lot of things in life, but no one can ever accuse you of not thanking God for the biggest to the least of His blessings.
As you and “Leonna,” chew your meal, you have your plan on your mind and you are comparable to a balloon at the county fair about to burst being left out in the Kansas sun. You want to talk, but you are a planner. You are going to wait for just the right time. That way, “Leonna,” will not be confused with your plan to “juice-up” your lives and enjoy your retirement.
“I’ve got it, ‘Leonna,’ you say swigging the last sip of your iced tea.
“If it’s a disease, we didn’t sign-up for Obamacare, so we will have to use our credit cards if you are hospitalized,” ‘Leonna,’ snaps with cynicism in every word.
All "white-picket fenced in) and tidy
Suburban Queens, New York, 1950
With boredom gone, "you" will be the "Center of Attention"
“No, it’s not a disease, but the answer to our lives and living in this neighborhood,” you explain now standing to emphasize your point. “Just sit down over here with me and I will explain.”
‘Leonna,’ moseys to the couch and sits down with her eyes glued on you.
“Now follow me,” you start off by saying. “We are in such a rut in our lives, marriage and living in this neighborhood that it’s laughable, but you and I aren’t happy—are we?”
‘Leonna’ shakes her head “no.”
“Well I was surfing around on the internet down in my workshop before dinner and I happen to land on this site called HubPages, and got interested in one of their writers: Kenneth Avery, this guy’s off-center, I tell you,” you state waving your hand in the air. “Anyway, ‘Leonna,” this Avery cat wrote a story, or hub, whatever they call it, entitled . . . .
“How to be The Center of Attention in Your Neighborhood,” and I admit it. Avery hit it dead-on. Seemingly he knew more about us than we did.”
“So, now do not nod-off, ‘Leonna,’ now I am going to reveal to you, the ways that Avery said for “us” to kill the boredom that’s sucking the life out of our marriage, our lives, and our life here in this neighborhood.”
Do unusual things – like showing-up at a neighbor’s house when you hear that they have experienced trouble—no matter what the trouble is, you offer to help in any way that you can, and do it for all of your neighbors, not just one.
“Go the Extra Mile” – in keeping your yard mowed, tree limbs picked-up, and trash cans out of sight. Make your home and yard the place that American Homes and Gardens would be proud to put on their front cover.
Help your elderly neighbors – if they have groceries to bring from the car to their house, or better yet, volunteer to drive them to get their groceries.
If you barbecue – make sure you use a propane grill that will not produce a stifling, choking smoke that angers your neighbors who suffer with allergies.
Once a month – have a couple of families from your neighborhood over for a small party. Treat two families at the time until you cover the entire neighborhood. This keeps the morale up and not stagnant.
If you have grandkids -- who love to explore and “get into things,” stay outside and prevent this from happening. There are people, both retired and non-retired, who cannot cope with toddlers turning over their trash cans, or tossing rocks at their cars. Be a considerate neighbor.
At your outside barbecue, or small party – do not overdo the beer and mixed-drinks as to lose control and laugh and talk so loudly that your neighbors, those who have to get up in the morning for work, will shun you when you speak to them the next day. Many people this day and time value their quiet time and sleep.
If you learn about – neighbors who are having financial problems, you know that they are not going to tell anyone thanks to human pride, so you and your wife get together with the other neighbors, and take up a monetary-donation to help them and throw in some groceries that will certainly be appreciated.
To be “the center of attention,” in your neighborhood is not Quantum-Physics. It’s simply doing good to someone else.