Before everyone got carpel tunnel syndrome from sitting transfixed in front of computer screens for hours, information was passed just as quickly across backyard fences: women hanging laundry on the line or taking it down could learn, not necessarily the GNP of Guatemala, but at least who may or may not be pregnant down the street, and the sale price of peaches at the local grocer's.
In addition to internet access, we have Our New Neighbor. Frankly, I don't even know her name - inexcusable, given that she comes over nearly every day.
"I moved the wires to your new invisible fence back where they were after I mowed. I just wanted to tell your husband that I moved them back. Oh, there's your dogs. Hi there. Hi honeys." ["Daisy, get back. Stay. Stay."]
"Just wanted to remind you that the mail truck comes between 11-2 and she won't deliver if a car is parked on the side of the street opposite the mailboxes. She won't do it. She'll just back up and turn around." (At which point, one might ask, where is one supposed to park when a 14 foot moving truck is in the driveway?)
And this, my, er, favorite, on a Friday evening, while we were watching a movie, regarding neighbors who just had a new baby:
"Would you like me to call Hal? The people on the other side of you have parked their car on their lawn, and Hal is very particular about his lawns. Do you want me to call him and tell him about it? We're not supposed to park vehicles on lawns."
John: "Oh, well, ah, I feel that's probably between them and Hal."
Neighbor: "No. No, it's not, it's between you and them, because they're over a little bit on your lawn." (ed. note: maybe six inches)
John:"Well, ah, we'd probably rather not be in the middle of this, I mean, it's the first time I've seen it, so if it was on a regular basis maybe I'd be more concerned, but not this time. But hey, thanks for offering..."
John had a surprisingly stern note in his voice, friendly, but sheathing a rather authoritative tone - a particularly Southern talent, I think.
I don't recall our doorbell ringing since.
Not to worry. I'm sure it will.