So being the good citizens and new parents that we are, Randy and I decided to go to our first Neighborhood Community meeting last night to see what it was all about. I had some issues regarding the "transactions" that were going on on our street and I also wanted to ask if we could get speed bumps put on the road so the dudes going 800 miles an hour would slow down to a decent 700 as there are tons of kids always playing outside. (I know, I know, I've somehow become "parent-ish" since Dante was born, go figure).
Our first impression as we walked in was, "wow is everyone here 152 years old?". Seriously, I think Randy, Dante and I were the only people there NOT born during the American Civil War and who did not remember the assasination of Lincoln. Of course, we got a few stare-downs as we walked into the room; Randy with his "Day of the Dead" T-Shirt, Dante in his black "Ozzy watches over me" onesie, and me, well just being me and breathing was sufficient. A couple of the "board members" were young; some preppy chick who kept fawning over our baby, a woman in her 40s who tried to discuss clubbing and bar hopping with me (don't ask me why), and a 30-something gay guy who was adorable, but I would have much rather seen him on Queer Eye. I also think he was in the closet, which seemed impossible to me as he was WAY more fabulous than me and that usually spells gay, but none of the Civil War veterans had a clue.
We sat down and I started feeding Dante, mostly because I wanted him to not schmickle (my invented Yiddish word for "fuss") but also because it was time to feed him. So the meeting starts and everyone gets up to say the Pledge of Allegiance. When I say everyone, I mean not me. What are we: 3? In Elementary School? Who the hell "pledges" anything? What the hell does the Pledge of Allegiance have to do with planting flowers in our neighborhood and/or the discussion of trash pickup? Seriously, I've never said nor done the Pledge of Allegiance, which was a huge issue with my teachers when I was in elementary school and my parents had to be called in and all that jazz and it was this whole deal. (Long story short, my parents told everyone to shove it and that I didn't have to say it if I didn't want to). First of all, I pledge allegiance to my family, my husband, and my son. Anyone else, I may consider it, but not really. Secondly, I don't pledge to a piece of cloth. Thirdly, we are NOT one nation under god with liberty and justice for all. God has nothing to do with me, and I could care less about some made up dude. Liberty for all? Not quite. And Justice for all? Great Metallica album, NOT really a representation of this country.
Anyhoo, they say the pledge and go through their orders of business (planting flowers, trash pickup, etc.) and then the fun starts. Basically it turned into "If you see any of your neighbors doing something bad or something you don't approve of, turn them in". I was like, what is this, the NSA? Is the Patriot Act being enforced in my 'hood? Do I have to take the skulls off my roof? Are we being targeted as "godless heathens" who disrupt the moral fiber of society? Thankfully, not this week, but there was alot of discussion about some dude's grass 2 streets over being too long. Scandalous, I know. Then the "guest speaker" made a little speech. Basically he was a cop who, in a nutshell, told us to report any "suspicious" activity and if we wanted to be Citizens on Patrol to speak to him. Um, ok. Then some lady and dude in the back, who I think were a little drunk or a little retarded or both, piped up about "suspicious" activity on their street involving long-haired dogs, a tin roof, and chow puppies. I'm not kidding. I swear I think they thought Al-Qaeda was breeding terrorist dogs to shit anthrax ridden poop on their lawn. They then revealed that they were Citizens on Patrol and that we should fear them for if we do anything "suspicious" that we'd soon find ourselves at Guantanamo. (ok, maybe I'm exaggerating but these people were wacko.)
My impression of this town meeting was basically, "Let's spy on everyone and be big baby tattletales so we can get brownie points from the board and the cops and maybe get our name on the Adopt-A-Street sign". Seriously. I talked to this one guy afterwards who was kinda off to the side like Randy and I were, and who seemed to be our age, and he said he came to the meetings just to see the people go at it, and to make sure that no one was talking about his house. Needless to say, I think we're going to keep going for the same reasons. I don't like the idea of spying and tattle taleing. Personally, I don't care if your grass is too long or you have a bag of trash out one day before trash pickup. We mind our own business, especially because we're the house with the Halloween decorations up all year and the freaky goth folks living inside. I will only speak out if I see abuse in the home and/or drug dealers on my street, other than that, do whatever you want.
I hope this turns out to be Peyton Place!