One day last week during a trip to the new house, someone drove by and waved. I am a Midwesterner, so I had no problem waving back. Then the guy backed his car up from down the street to welcome me to the neighborhood. He gave me a bit of information about the block; I gave him a little bit about our deal.
At one point he asked me to repeat my enormously Polish last name, then asked, “Are you Catholic?”
I told my mom this part and she gasped. It’s not crazy to think someone Polish might be Catholic. But asking? Like in minute three? I didn’t gasp, though. It’s not the first time since our move to Grand Rapids that I’ve been asked by a stranger about church or religion. This place gives me culture shock that way. But that’s an entirely different blog post.
The neighbor and I eventually finished our chat and parted ways.
A couple days later we headed out of town for a family reunion. We stopped through to spend time with the Swedelock’s parents. We drove to Nowhere, Wisconsin, where I have nice, wholesome childhood memories. The toddler got in a lake for the first time. We ate a lot of meat. Everyone in town knew our cousins. We did a drive by of the house my father grew up in. We ate more meat.
We had a great time, and I was still happy to see our little rented duplex when we pulled up. There was a note on the door, which I assumed was from the women who rent the place next door to us. But it wasn’t. It was from the neighbor I’d met last week.
Let me repeat. Our neighbor from the new house left a note on our current house.
Hey, nice meeting you last week. Give me a call and I’ll drop off a welcome something for your family.
Blink. Blink. Blink.
For a second, the husband said, “Oh, that’s nice.”
I said, “A note on our new house is nice. Figuring out where we currently live, and leaving a note here? No.”
My brows have been furrowed for a day. My only response has to be telling him his note on our door made me uncomfortable. I have, like, the openest-door policy in the universe. I live for neighborliness. My default is: come on in! So if you cross my boundaries? Dude, I’m gonna have to erect a fence.