The Biggest Busybody on the Block

What has prompted me to crawl out of the swamp, you might ask. As the Blog Nazi reminds me, it’s been over ten years since I last wrote. Or, maybe that was the Hessian of Hyperbole who incorrectly noted the passage of blog time. Although, when you stop to think, it really would be a Lubberly Luddite who would be unable to determine accurately the last time something was entered into a blog. Because sometimes technology sucks. Apparently, alliteration is amusing.

About eighteen months ago, I decided that many things suck, which corresponds (coincidentally or not) with my last blog. Ten years…eighteen months…meh. The level of suckitude in our current world and the soul-sucking stress that defined the last twelve months of my former job weighed so heavily upon me that I couldn’t write. Of course, this could be a handy excuse for why I wouldn’t write.

Coming back out of the illiterate darkness does take time. Although I could procrastinate longer, the time has come to metaphorically put pen to paper. This serves a dual purpose of not only quieting the nattering Blog Nazi but giving in to the pleas of the three other people who actually follow this hibernating blog.

I’ve had lots (and lots) of thoughts in the past eighteen months. These ideas fling themselves against the inside of my skull, as if there is an everlasting game of cranial pinball, from which I cannot escape. Then, these thoughts morph into others. For example, when I wrote “dual purpose” above, I immediately thought of “duel porpoise.” Tell me that doesn’t provide you with a vivid mental image. Of course, my mental image then goes out on a long trek and convinces all the other peculiar ideas to join it. Welcome to my world hell. Once I dismiss the interlopers, I am left wondering what on earth I started to write about in the first place. Gack. Thank you in advance for staying with me while I re-learn the art of focus and refresh my writing groove.

Quelle surprise, I’ve digressed already. Time to return to our original program…

We have a bodacious busybody on our block. She is audaciously and unabashedly nosy, a meddler extraordinaire, an incomparable buttinksy even. So as not to offend any of my neighbors, I’ll just call this snoop “Nelly.” As in Nosy Nelly, the Brazen Busybody. Nelly can’t help herself. She sticks her big ol’ nose into anyone’s and everyone’s business. This is not a new phenomenon; however, I became more acutely aware of Nelly’s peccadilloes as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, which I not-too-fondly call The Time of the Plague (TotP) or, more simply The Rona.

As many people have been, I have been nearly housebound since the start of The Rona, giving me plenty of time to be both more observant and blissfully useless. After the first year of TotP, I became unemployed (at my behest – I wasn’t fired!), which provided more time to interact with Nelly. We live in close proximity and our walking schedules are synchronized. Thankfully for everyone around here, we haven’t confused this with synchronized swimming and we don’t wear matching swimsuits as we parade around the subdivision. Come to think of it, a nose-plug might come in handy for Nelly, since she likes to stick her proboscis into everything, with no regard for the impropriety of this behavior.

We can’t get ten feet down the sidewalk without Nelly spying something that requires vociferous comment. She notices items that are out-of-place or new, things that have been moved, cars that don’t belong, cars that do belong but are in a different spot, and seasonal decorations, which might be her favorite transgression. Once the fussbudget Nelly locks on to the offending object, she cannot walk by it without comment. I frequently recommend that she just let it go. Nope. Not possible. Initially, her powers of observation were mildly entertaining. How on earth, I mused, can one notice the most miniscule detail with such regularity? More importantly, why does the concept of a new or misplaced object result in such distress and chatter? It’s exhausting, to me anyway. Not to the meddlesome Nelly.

One of our neighbors placed a seasonal decoration at their mailbox. Rather than trot by it, tossing it a casual and appreciative glance, Nelly launched into a tirade. I thought I was the biggest (and most unapologetic) Bah Humbug, but Nelly eclipses me. I am able to enjoy holiday lights, Halloween goblins and graveyards, Easter bunnies, and the like. Not Nelly. She finds all these trinkets to be useless and unpleasant. The two of us do agree that inflatable lawn decorations are absolute rubbish. The bigger they are, the more we both want to bite or stab them so they stop waving around, making noise and being completely annoying. If the TotP continues much longer, Nelly and I have decided we’ll form a temporary alliance to incapacitate inflatable fripperies under cover of darkness. Shhh…don’t tell anyone.

Back to Nelly. Surely many people have friends in their lives who they alternately want to hug and slap into next week. Nelly is one of those creatures. I alternately think her meddlesomeness is comical and repulsive. When walking together, she invariably takes the lead to charge up the street to seek out anything that our neighbors may have added to their landscaping without asking her permission. (Note: maybe the HOA police should hire her to sniff out infractions of the annoying covenants. That would certainly be less expensive and more environmentally friendly than sending out rules-enforcers in vehicles). She bounds up the sidewalk, looking back to see if I’m close enough to hear her running commentary of harumphs, sniffs, and snorts of derision. If I’m lagging, she’ll vociferously share her opinions, without a care for who else might hear them.

This often requires me to apologize, sotto voce, on her behalf: “Sorry, Nelly is merely exuberant and likes to share her thoughts. She’s harmless. She didn’t mean to offend. Oh – that’s your inflatable gewgaw? Well, we both hate that. We sure hope it doesn’t spontaneously explode some night.”

Since Nelly and I are chronologically well beyond our prime, her bursts of energy generally end quickly. I often recommend that she emulate the tortoise, not the hare, but my helpful advice falls on deaf ears. Speaking of tortoises, I happened upon a useful device today that might help any of you who want to take your lumbering reptiles on a walk…

Seriously, who doesn’t want a tortoise-walking harness?!

Hare-brained Nelly merely poo-poos my suggestions before she skips merrily ahead of me in her search for something that offends her sensibilities. She is the Queen of the Short Attention Span, making me the Crown Princess I suppose. Invariably, she runs out of juice before I do; then I need to slow down to accommodate her. There are times that I’d like to wander around alone, with or without earbuds, at my own pace. Some days I successfully sneak out of the house before she spies me. Most days I can’t escape without her charging out to join me. When I listen to music so I can drown out her expostulations, she just remonstrates more loudly when she wants me to acknowledge some disturbance in her sphere. Basically, it’s useless to try to ignore her protests. I guess it’s a small price to pay to have company, although I do tire of having to make excuses on her behalf. Nelly, blissfully, is ignorant of social niceties and doesn’t seem to mind me conducting my own apology tour in her wake.

I do not mean to give the impression that I dislike the Nosy One. On the contrary…I love her to bits. She is a loyal friend. I can tell her anything without worrying that it will be all over social media the next day. I trust that she would never betray my confidence, so putting up with her officiousness is a small price to pay. I begrudgingly admit that her habit of thrusting her nose into every-little-thing can be fairly amusing; it makes the average mortal seem distant and uncaring in comparison. There is nothing distant about Nelly. She freely violates boundaries, personal space, and noise ordinances. She is quick to show both affection and displeasure. Thankfully, she quickly forgives and lets go of frustration. She is more lovable than she is irascible…mostly.

Because she is Queen of the Short Attention Span, I’m confident that she will not get this far into a blog entry. I think I can vouchsafe her true identity. But, if you know her, please don’t tell her that I am vexed by her habit of poking her nose where it doesn’t belong. I’d never want to hurt her feelings. Besides, if I irk her, she might do something really irritating, like pee in the hallway or pout or yowl. Instead, I’ll continue to giggle when Lacey the Pocket Coonhound entertains me. She is, after all, a weird and enchanting hound, with more quirks than any one dog should possess. Hunky Hubby sometimes calls her a bothersome creature. My witty retort is that she’s MY bothersome creature. Followed by some advice about what he might do with his unsolicited opinion!

Checkout this magnificent schnozz!

In general, though, we both adore the goofy busy body and wouldn’t trade her for anything.

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