My Brookline post from last week got me thinking about my neighbor Robin and how I don’t really see her and her crazy red mane too much anymore, and just like that she came out of her house while Chooch and I were cavorting around our front yard; she and I had a brief, chummy exchange before she got in someone’s car and took off.
And then earlier today, Chooch and I were sidewalk chalking while the Best of Bad Company wafted from Robin’s open front window. Crappy classic rock always perks me up. It was then that I vowed to find a way to ingratiate myself with Robin again this summer, because she is one hot character study. When Bill and Jessi were here over the weekend, I nearly had a stroke pointing out Robin’s son Brandon to them as we drove past her house. “LOOK THERE’S HER SON AT THE FRONT WINDOW, WEARING A RED SHIRT!” Who needs a tour of Pittsburgh’s historical landmarks when there’s so much to show visitors right here on my block?
A few years ago, my friend Sandra pledged a generous amount when I was doing Blogathon, under the stipulation that I would take a photo of Henry with Robin. He was less than enthused about this, but since it was for charity, he knew he’d be a big asshole if he refused. And this is how it went down:
July 31st, 2006
All afternoon, I kept a watchful eye out the front window, hoping to catch Robin outside of her drug den. I didn’t get to see her, but there was some young man crossing the street near our house who put on quite the show for Henry and me. Henry grabbed the camcorder and I squealed in delight as the man weebled and tottered around in his drunken stupor. And then he went to Robin’s house! I think maybe it was her son.
Later on, I decided maybe we should go and knock on Robin’s door, because I really wanted that picture. I asked Henry when he wanted to go to Robin’s, and from his Vigilant Neighbor post at the front door, he said, “Certainly not now. There’s a fire truck there.”
We thought maybe they were there because something happened to that weird guy, because it looked like one of the firefighters had a medical bag and gloves in his hands. But the ambulance never came and no one was brought out. And why was Robin running down the street?! Who was she flipping off?
After a certain point, my nosiness was killing me so I got in the car and drove around the block first before pulling into the parking lot across the street, so as not to arouse suspicion. Then I sat slumped down in the driver’s seat and felt like a sex predator. It was awesome.
The man standing on her porch near the end of the video is her equally-fucked up neighbor. He talked to us once about Riley and how precious babies are but I had a hard time hearing him because I was fixated on his gray teeth and trying not to get drunk off his whiskey breath.
So, after all that excitement, Henry put his foot down. “I’m certainly not going over there now. Robin’s been wearing that same outfit since Friday. She’s clearly on a bender.” This could have very well been true, because the other day I saw Brandon leaving with whom I assumed was one of Robin’s older daughters. Screaming, “No, I don’t want to go!”
I reluctantly agreed that Henry was smart about not going to her house; I wasn’t trying to inhale any fumes either, so I agreed to wait until we see her outside again.
August 6th, 2006
Robin had become elusive ever since the debacle with the firemen last Sunday, so my efforts to arrange a photo-op with her and Henry were futile.
Henry’s son Blake was here this weekend, so feeling brave in his company, the two of us trampled over to her house last night. No one answered the door. I noticed that her son Brandon was sitting out back with our equally as crazy/drunk/high neighbor, Paul, who has turned stints in rehab into his own Olympic sport. Now that’s a great babysitter.
We couldn’t have been any more obvious last night, hanging around on the front porch and staring at Robin’s house with open mouths. There was the incessant whispering: Where is she? Is she home? What if she’s dead? which caused my neighbor Fish to spy on us from his front door. Then I would throw a ball over to her yard so Blake could go get it and casually peer into her front window at the same time. At one point, a woman came out of the house next to Robin’s and Blake screamed, “Is that her!?!?” He’s clearly a graduate of my school of subtlety.
It brought back delightful memories of when Henry’s kids and I played a fun game called Cable Guy Mania, which consisted of taking recon-style photos of the cable guys as they fixed our cable under Henry’s watchful eye. Basically, we stood on the steps and held out the camera. We’re slick like that. Every time they would go out to their van, we would run into my bedroom and snaps pictures from the window. Henry was supposed to put it all together with Ludacris’s “What’s Your Fantasy” playing over top, until he realized that we were turning it into a gay love story and he was the main character. Then it wasn’t all fun and games anymore. (This was back when he actually tried to set a good example for his kids. What?)
Today, Blake came back over and after feeling like I was going to dry heave with giddiness, I calmed down long enough to try again. This time, she answered. As soon as Blake caught sight of her face, he took a step back and mouthed, “Holy shit!” I hope Blake doesn’t tell his mother about the shit I make him do when he visits.
Robin’s t-shirt was rolled up under her boobs, spotlighting the outline of her rib cage. Sexy.
I told her that we were playing a photo scavenger hunt and Henry needed a picture with a red head; she was the only red head I knew. She misunderstood me at first, and began stumbling around her dining room, looking for a picture of herself.
“No, Robin. He needs to have the picture taken with you.”
She tried to deny having red hair. “Are you sure this will work? My hair isn’t really red, is it? Really, you think it is?” No, I think it’s orange.
I had to run back to the house to fetch Henry, who seemed highly dismayed that this was actually going to go down.
To add even more to Henry’s dismay, we had to enter Robin’s house to take the photo. I was sad to see that she had pulled her shirt down. I think the Internet would have been impressed by her sunken abdomen.
Henry refused to put his arm around her, saying it was bad enough that he had to enter her den of ill repute. So this was the best I could do:
What I hadn’t anticipated was Robin’s mega interest in our “scavenger hunt” ruse. “What other kinds of things did you have to get?” she asked with hunger in her eyes.
I knew I should have made up that bunk list! On the spot, all I could do was stammer about clowns and then I turned to Henry and asked, “Gee whiz, what else did we need? I can’t remember!”
“I don’t know, but this is the only one I’m doing.” He glared all the way through to my soul. It kind of hurt.
As we left, Robin called out, “See ya, hon! Hope your team wins!”
(Tomorrow maybe I’ll post about the flashlight incident! OH BOY AREN’T YOU LUCKY?)