What is the proper protocol?
I ask myself that a lot about random shit that probably doesn't even have protocols.
Like, what's the proper protocol for introducing yourself to the new neighbor? Do you wait until after they've moved in? During? Is 9 p.m. too late? Is 8:30 a.m. too early? Do you have to take a gift? What if you don't? And what if you never do - does that mean you never introduce yourself?
The Cottage and I are literally a stone's throw from the Big House where a young couple moved in shortly after I did, and we are the only two inhabitants on the land. We're like a compound.
Avoiding each other is pointless, and I didn't have a desire to avoid anyone, despite my rogue tendencies to be anti-social. I was just getting home late every night last week and didn't want to scare anyone by knocking on the door.
Finally, yesterday, it happened. I came home from work early in the afternoon and Kacey was outside with their puppy. I carried some stuff from my car into the Cottage and then it happened.
We halved the distance between the Cottage and the Big House, and introduced ourselves.
And then she told me the Cottage is a renovated chicken house.
My beautiful sanctuary was a chicken coop.
I laughed, because oddly, it's fitting. I like chickens, I think they're an oft-misunderstood animal, and let's face it, in my soul, I am half chicken.
We visited for awhile and then parted our not-so-distant ways. Later, I was fixing a wooden shelf outside and she was having trouble starting her vehicle. With nails in my mouth, and a cigarette in her hand, we talked about what we needed to do to get her truck running. She invited me to eat frozen lasagna and I took Diet Pepsi with me - by far, the worst "welcome to the neighborhood" present EVER.
I introduced her to Pinterest, she told me her life story, and I felt strangely old compared to her 20 years.
I have a neighbor and her name is Kacey, and the Cottage is a chicken house.