Patricia Bidar: They Don’t Make Neighbors Like They Used To

I grew up with a woman in harem pants who lived in a glass bottle. When her master called her, she would emerge to see what he wanted. As I recall, they bickered a lot. He was an astronaut who needed to appear sane. So no one could know about Jeannie. She was always in a snit, disappearing in a tendril of smoke and sulking on her curved couch inside the bottle. Her master had one friend, kind of a dumb playboy. He was so dumb he thought nothing of the fact that his neighbor owned a woman in a bottle, and he never complained about all that arguing. He normally wore his snappy work uniform everywhere he went. Who wouldn’t? All the chicks were wild for these guys.

I also grew up with a family who’d made it big in oil (AKA “Texas Tea”). They didn’t have many friends, but they stuck together. Their main friends were their banker and his assistant. The assistant was a spinster and a birdwatcher, which was pretty hilarious, I guess. The banker was always trying to swindle them. The father of the family was sexy in his country clothing and his amused eyes. His mother was always in a snit about something and would stomp around I her long skirt and combat boots. He had these sexy teenage kids. Jethro: kind of a dumb playboy and Ellie Mae, who wore a rope for a belt and loved animals, which she raised in their pool.

My favorite neighbors moved away from the city to the country. I used to love hanging around with the wife, Lisa, because we both love air conditioning and a penthouse view. She and her husband were both veterans of WWII; she as a member of the Hungarian underground and he as an ace flyer. I never got around to asking them how they met. Because her husband out of the blue decided he wanted to be a gentleman farmer. Everyone from his wife to his handyman to his neighbor, whose son was a pig named Arnold, thought he was out of his mind. Lisa on the other hand was an “out of the box’ thinker whose ideas included mending socks with staples, throwing dirty dishes out the window and moving back to New York. Unfortunately, her short-fused husband always got the last word, even though all of his plans and schemes were failures.

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Bidar means awake. Patricia Bidar is a writer and California native looking forward to life’s third act.

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