Aren’t People Helpful?

We just moved onto this block a week ago, so I haven’t finished opening the moving boxes. The furniture’s been delivered, at least, so we can sit down, and our bed’s put together. Benny made the movers set up the TV right away, too. And he made me get the cable people out here the morning we moved in. No way he would miss his games.

I’m hoping to get the kitchen set up quickly. It doesn’t really feel like home in there yet. I wanted to do something about the living room, too. The ashtray in there’s already overflowing, and there are pizza boxes and beer bottles on the table. I asked Benny to take all that trash out last night, and he said he would. Didn’t happen, though. I started to say something about it again this morning, but when I got into the living room, he was already flopped on the sofa, pointing the remote at the TV. I know better than to ask him to do anything at all when the game’s on. Oh, well, I’ll try to do it later, I guess.

I like the street we live on. The people seem nice. A couple of them have already said hello and welcome. They’re helpful, too. The day we moved in, I was taking some suitcases and smaller things out of our van. You know how it is when you move. Benny was on a beer run, so it was just me. I was trying to pull one of our end tables out, but it was too heavy. The guy across the street – he said his name’s Paul – came over and helped, and thank God for it. We got that end table inside in no time. He offered to help with the rest of the things in the van, but I didn’t think that was a good idea. Benny has a way he likes things done. Anyway, Paul was really nice about it, so I gave him a cold drink before he left.

I’ve also met Cyndi, who lives next door. She’s amazing. I think her house must be the cleanest one on the block. I haven’t been inside it, but you should see how neat it is on the outside. I’m no snoop or anything, but I’ve even seen her with a bucket of what looks like heavy-duty cleanser, heading for the garage. Even that must be sparkling. I don’t know how she does it all, either, because I’m pretty sure she has an outside job, maybe in sales or something.  She has a mini-van, and the other day I saw her putting boxes in it. Not moving boxes, more like sample boxes, bags, that kind of thing.

That morning, I was trying to open up some of our outdoor furniture, so we could put it on our patio. I didn’t want Cyndi to think I was sneaking around, spying on her, so when she glanced over my way, I waved and she waved back. Then she crossed over to say hello. See what I mean? The people who live here are nice. Anyway, we exchanged names, and she welcomed me.
‘Need a hand with that stuff?’ Cyndi asked, pointing at the chairs.
‘Nah, thanks, I can manage.’
‘Well, let me know if I can do anything. I’m right over there.’
‘Thanks, I will.’
‘See you, Michele.’
‘Bye.’ See? Very helpful people. It was a good thing Cyndi left when she did, because I heard Benny call me from inside. Then I remembered that I hadn’t taken the clothes out of the dryer. No wonder he couldn’t find a clean shirt.  It was definitely better to hurry in and help him now. The furniture would have to wait.

Later that day, I was in the middle of hanging some pictures up when I glanced out the window. There was Cyndi, pulling into her drive. I tried to look away – like I said, I’m not a snoop – but I saw her open up the back of her mini-van and pull some garden-shop bags out. Benny was taking a nap, so I went over and offered to help. Cyndi seemed glad to see me, and we put the bags into her garage. I was right. It really is sparkling in there. Anyway, we got to chatting a little while we were moving the bags. I asked if she’s into gardening, because I noticed a couple of big shovels in the garage (even they were glistening!), and the bags were bags of lime. She told me she likes to garden, and then she asked about me.

‘Not much to tell,’ I admitted. I told her about Benny and me and how I work out of my home. I teach online classes, which makes it easier for me to take care of Benny and the house and everything. Cyndi seemed impressed. Then I asked what she does. I was right. She’s a sales rep. By now I felt more comfortable, so I asked, ‘You married?’
‘I was.’
‘Oh, sorry. I didn’t know – I –’
‘Don’t worry. I’m better off. It’s nice to have my life back, let’s put it that way.’ Then she smiled. She really did seem happy.

Just a little while ago, I looked out of my office window to give my eyes a break from the computer screen. I can see into Cyndi’s back yard from that window.  There’s some freshly-turned soil in the corner of the yard. Maybe she’s been planting, but I don’t think so. It all made me wonder. I thought about Cyndi, and then about me and Benny and everything else. I think I’ll stop over there again really soon. I’ll bet there’s a lot Cyndi could teach me.

42 Comments

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42 responses to “Aren’t People Helpful?

  1. Hahaha! I LOVE this one, Margot! Lovely black humour! Great stuff! 😀

  2. This is fabulous Margot, I love it, I love the unusual POV and the slowly dawning realization, after having no idea where the story is going…

    • Thanks, Moira! I’m so glad you liked it. 🙂 – I wasn’t sure the POV would work, but when I started writing, well, that was the character who told me her story.

  3. Sounds like a neighborhood “co-op” in the making! 🙂
    –Michael

  4. I just don’t know how you found the time to move with these blog posts every day !! 😀 😀 😀

  5. You mentioned recently that you live in California and since I live there too, I read your moving story with interest. I admit that I was about halfway through it before I said, “Wait a minute…” I wish the guy who helped with the coffee table lived near me!!

    Great job!

  6. kathy d

    Fun story told with a few twists, irony and underlying mystery. Subtle, but it tells a story nevertheless.
    Since there was no mention of the two dogs, I figured it was fiction.

  7. mudpuddle

    outstanding… lol at the end… have you published a collection of short stories? i bet it would sell well….

  8. Linda Connolly

    Don’t you just love those neighbors who are quick with a smile and ever so helpful? Fun read! Thanks!

  9. Would love to hear how it develops further – what a sly mix you are, enticing us in. Incidentally, I remember a moving day somewhat like that, but no helpful neighbours, merely the removal men feeling very sorry for me…

  10. It wasn’t until the overflowing beer bottles and pizza boxes that I realized it was a story. Couldn’t picture you living like that. (And a good one).

  11. Love the voice in this Margot. Great story and fun 🙂

  12. Such a fun story, Margot! I loved the last paragraph😉

  13. What a superb and fun tale Margot – top marks!!

  14. Well, that took me in at first! Our next door neighbours moved out last week and the new people moved in – so I was ready to read a new neighbour story. By the way their removal van blocked us in … not a good start. You never know who you might get living next door – but they do seem nice. Time will tell. 🙂

    • I hope they’re nice, Margaret. That’s the thing about new people moving in; you never do know. It doesn’t bode well when they block you in, but hopefully that isn’t the start of a pattern. 🙂 Glad you liked the story!

  15. Col

    Scheming females…..poor old put upon Benny! Haha

  16. A great short story, but it would work well as the start of something longer, too! Love it, Margot. 🙂

  17. Yes, great voice – and great fun. Thanks, Margot!

  18. Yea neighbors are once who are there when we need help and sure you could learn a lot from cyndi. It was fun to read.

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