Around the Circle

Author: D. Kinsley

Neighborhood: Encinitas

Age: 32

Occupation: Sous chef

Little did I know that upon moving into my neighborhood that I was sooner or later going to have to go around in a circle and reintroduce myself at least a handful of times.

This is extremely challenging for me, because I ­don’t talk much. It is clear to me that my neighbors do. Every weekday around 5:45 p.m. I see them all out there in the driveway, beverages in hand, musing over the latest trailer-park prattle. It goes a little something like this:

­“Who’s building a new fence and a loft above their trailer ­next?”

­“I’ll do ­it.”

“Wait, does she have a permit for that ­thing?”

“The doctor says ­it’s contagious, so just keep that in ­mind.”

There is sometimes laughter that takes over the constant chatter, and ­that’s okay. ­It’s the rest of it I try my best to tune out. But living in such close proximity to one another makes this quite difficult. We live in a tight community — all 47 of us packed onto one ­lot.

­“I’d like you all to know that, yes, ­I’m going out of town, but I ­don’t need you to collect my mail for me.” Thanks anyway, Mrs. So-and-So, but ­I’ve got it all figured out. And no, Mister, thanks, but I already have a dad. ­Isn’t that enough? ­Don’t they get me yet? I feel like ­I’ve been talking to these people every single day for the past four years, telling them none-of-their-business useless information: Yes, I do get up at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and, yes, I am spending the night at my ­girlfriend’s house again tonight. And no, I ­don’t care that ­you’ve been celibate for the past 25 years by choice. Okay, ­I’m just going to go quietly now and listen to the crows hollering incessantly instead of hanging around out ­here.

“J.D., are you in there? We were wondering if you left your underwear in the laundry room. ­They’re about as big as a postage stamp, and it looks like something you might wear.” Dear God, are they talking to me? Back to me again already? I thought I was off the hook for awhile. Are you sure we went around the circle again? It seems like it keeps getting smaller and ­smaller.

Okay, everyone — I have issues with people who have a problem with respecting boundaries. Yes, old man, that includes you. ­Don’t you think it might be a good idea to invest in some curtains? I see you lying in your bed at night as ­I’m lying in mine. Yikes! How can you sleep with socks ­on?

“No, I ­didn’t leave my skivvies in the laundry ­room.”

“Okay, sorry to bother ­you.”

Are they still lingering out there, even though I answered the question from the inside of my trailer home? Yep, they are still ­there.

“By the way, J.D, what current creative project are you working on these ­days?”

“Lattice and climbing vines for my ­deck.”

“Oh, okay — oops, looks like my beverage has run ­dry.”

“Okay, then. ­Goodnight.”

At last, another evening in the park is over, and I can go rest peacefully ­now.

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