Spy vs. The Next Door Neighbor

Spy vs spyWith the news that “the government” has demanded private and confidential medical records of Americans from physicians all over the country this week, I can only assume for BMI and blood pressure monitoring, I keep wondering what the next step is. I mean, among the various vitals to be tracked are other personal habits, re smoking, drinking and, I can only assume, recreational drug use. Given that faith and the practice of religion affects this for a whole lot of us, I would imagine eventually that will be monitored too.

What’s the Obama regime going to do if that information is not on patient charts? Ask Americans to check their neighbors’ recycle bins for bottles, cans and cigarette butts? Are we Americans supposed to report on our neighbors? (For good reason, none of us would tell the government the truth about ourselves.)

I don’t know about the people who live in rural areas or apartment buildings, but those of us who live in middle/upper middle class neighborhoods really only see and talk to each other at certain times of the year: while planting spring flowers, mowing grass, raking leaves and shoveling snow. We might say hello while walking the dogs and while in the park with our nephews, but for the most part, it’s “How’re you doin’?” unless the power goes out and we are all outside during the summer (especially if it’s your tree that lost a branch and knocked out the transformer).

And so to save a little time, allow me to report what I DO know about the neighbors and their habits observed from my own house and lawn:


  • The guy next door has an unregulated hot tub in his backyard. He walks out of his house to get his paper in the morning without combing his hair in his pajamas, and plays late 80s music WAY too loud while on his treadmill.
  • The lady on the other side…her husband, who she claims is out of town taking care of a sick mother or sister or something, has not been seen in these parts in over two years. She’s carrying on as if her marriage is perfect and she expects her spouse back at any time. The grapevine, OTOH, tells a different story, as another neighbor goes running with the husband about a couple miles from here and he says something very different. What pharmaceuticals the woman is taking, legal or not, is the subject of the household betting pool.
  • The people who live on the walk at the middle of the block have a firepit and chili dinner in their driveway every Halloween. Bratwurst is also grilled. Alcohol…it’s Halloween. Everybody has a drink in their hand, even while trick or treating with the kids.
  • The lady on the other side of the walk from them, a very nice, Orthodox Jewish woman, DRIVES to shul on Saturdays and wears pants!
  • Across the street from her is a family with three kids, two of whom are girls. In December and the first couple weeks of January, they had a red lightbulb in the fixture over their front door. I’ve been to Amsterdam. I know what that means.
  • A few doors down from them an older neighbor who is very sick just moved out. Please, leave her be. Her husband actually did die of lung cancer many years ago.
  • Further down, is the big house owned by an interior decorator and decked out like Mad King Ludwig’s bedroom in Neuschwanstein in Bavaria. He’s been spotted at grocery stores buying white bread and plastic cheese, and really doesn’t look well. But, since he’s gay, he probably gets a pass.
  • Back at our end of the block, the lady across the street who demands that no one park on our side of the street at the end of her driveway (for good reason. It’s a wonder there’s grass on either lawn over there she drives over them so often), has an old German Shepherd who weighs more than she does.
  • Next to her is the guy with more dogs than is legal. He’s weird, but the dogs are alright.
  • On his other side is the family that puts up their Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving every year. It’s still up and lit.
  • On their other side is a long time neighbor Orthodox Jewish family. The wife sweeps the outdoor steps while her husband is at the synagog on the Sabbath. We Christians have all agreed not to tell him.
  • Behind us, our retired friend sits on his back porch in the morning in his pjs drinking his coffee and smoking a cigar. As far as we can tell, he smokes just the one and probably because the wife won’t let him smoke in the house.
  • And last, but not least, some one of our neighbors has an orange and white tabby who likes to hang out on the privacy fence that runs across our back yard. As there is a member of this household who is a St. Francis of Assisi devotee and insists on the six or seven bird feeders in the backyard and leaving out the rancid nuts from last Thanksgiving for the squirrels (okay, I gave the nuts to the squirrels, but do not claim the bird feeders), I guess the cat has its eyes set on the flocks that would rather eat in our backyard than somewhere south. Given the new study from the Smithsonian that cats are responsible for the majority of premature bird deaths in the USA, this must be some sort of a problem. Actually, so long as the victims are the disgusting morning doves, grackles, and starlings and not the finches, tufted titmouses, sparrows, red headed woodpeckers and cardinals, we might keep quiet.
  • The two cute and charming black and white tyrants who clear our yard a few times a day…don’t mind them. They’re loud, but really sweet and the perfect hot water bottle temperature for aching joints.

That’s it. That’s all I know. I just hope the neighbors will forgive me.

By Cultural Limits

A resident of Flyover Country, Cultural Limits is a rare creature in American Conservatism - committed to not just small government, Christianity and traditional social roles, but non-profits and high arts and culture. Watching politics, observing human behavior and writing are all long-time interests. CL is a regular contributor to The Constitution Club group blog, and writes on her religious blog, Beyond Sodality, from time to time. In religion, CL is Catholic; in work, the jill of all trades when it comes to fundraising software manipulation and event planning; in play, a classically trained soprano and proud citizen of Cardinal Nation, although, during hockey season, Bleeds Blue. She lives in the Mid-Mississippi River Valley with family and two cute and charming tyrants...make that toy dogs.


  1. I’d love to be able to write like that!
    You’re keeping quiet about the guns but I hear doctors are asking about guns in the house. And can add that my HMO has asked me that.
    It occurs to me that given the accuracy of government record keeping (and that of my HMO, too) it seems likely that a couple of years down the road, the whole thing will have become worthless…except where government prosecutors use it to send innocent folk up the river for crimes committed by the people two blocks over…

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