Filling Your Niche

Gregarious Greg

After living here a week or so, it became clear that my neighbors were the townhome complex drug dealers.

Really nice guys though, Victor and D’Angelo. They’re quiet and they keep their yard clean and always say hi to me. Yesterday D’Angelo was walking out of his front door at the same time I was headed out with a bag of smelly kitchen garbage.

“Oh, you want me to take that to the dumpster for you?” he asked, hoisting the bag out of my hands before I could even answer. He wasn’t even going that way.

Yes, even the drug dealers are better in Colorado.

On our other side, we have the heavily pregnant girl who sits outside chain-smoking, waiting for her due date to arrive. At the end of the building is the family with the 4-year-old who runs around outside in diapers with no parents in sight.

In the next building over we have another chain-smoking mom with a baby on her hip plus a little boy and a young teenager who might be hers also (but I can’t figure out how to make that math work) and an older lady who must be the grandma. Next to them are the 20-something construction worker potheads with the awesome big dog named Charlie Brown.

Sometime around late June, I came home to a previously empty unit now all tidy with snappy porch furniture and a huge American flag hanging off the corner of the building.

Oh boy, I thought. These folk are not going to do well back in this corner of the complex.

Later that night I’m headed back out again and the new neighbors– a nice couple maybe in their youngish 30s, just as lovely as you’d expect from their porch furniture– are sipping local craft beers out front.

We exchange greetings as I pass.

The next night, they’re out there again, only with mix drinks and this time one of the 20-something construction worker pothead neighbors has joined them. The night after that, Victor the drug dealer is hanging out there too, along with both construction workers and Charlie Brown the dog.

After a couple weeks or so, Dan & I are the ones hanging out on the porch with all our neighbors (and all our dogs).

Greg and Brittany have a baby and a toddler. She stays at home and he commutes. Greg is a tax attorney, and Brittany is one of those women who always looks perfect and who apologizes for her messy kitchen when there’s a single dirty plate and no crumbs. In her spare time she’s starting her own home decorating business.

Despite these things, they’re actually quite likable.

Dan and Greg carpool every morning now; Dan’s new job is within a mile of Greg’s office. Dan is teaching Greg how to climb. Greg loves it.

I’m positive if I had little kids, Brittany and I would be play date besties. As it is, I still stop to chit chat for a minute after dropping Miss G at school in the mornings, and our own girls are frothing at the mouth to babysit.

“I’m pretty sure Greg is short for Gregarious,” Dan tells me.

In just a few months, Gregarious Greg has transformed our little corner of misfit toys into someplace that’s practically neighborly. His wife has taken to feeding the malnourished construction workers dinner every night. We stop by their porch most evenings to spend some time catching up; we’ve switched to hot tea now though. The seasons are changing.

Maarit • 09/24/2013

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