Life in Suburbia: Don’t Forget to Look Up

by Nancy Wurtzel on April 26, 2012

People think that living in the suburbs can be boring, but I disagree.  Honestly, if you keep your eyes open, you never know what unusual experiences will come your way.

Like the fall evening a few years back, when I was grilling turkey burgers for dinner.  Standing on my patio, I remember enjoying the crisp California night air, the abundance of stars and the still quiet of my backyard.  All was right in my little world.

Then, out of the corner of my eye, something moved.  I looked up.

There was my middle-aged neighbor, Jerry, illuminated in the hot, white light of his second-story bedroom window – stark naked.

My mouth fell open.  Transfixed and rooted to the pavement, I stood with the grill tongs in one hand and the salt shaker in the other.  Part of me wanted to look away, but my inner voice said: Wait, Nancy. Not so fast. This could make for a very good blog post.

My inner voice was right.  I kept looking.

On tiptoes, I squinted up.  What was Jerry doing?

It appeared he was packing a suitcase.  Yes, that made sense. Earlier in the day, I’d chatted with Jerry when I was getting my mail.  He’d mentioned he was taking his whole family to Mexico for a long vacation.  They really needed to relax, he explained.

Now, looking up at his exposed form, I’d say Jerry looked plenty relaxed to me.  Yet, at the same time, he seemed almost animated. With vigor and purpose, Jerry bounced back-and-forth taking clothes from the closet to the dresser to his suitcase on the bed.

Closet. Dresser. Bed.

Closet. Dresser. Bed.

Closet. Dresser. Bed.

Oh, my!

Blood was pounding in my ears.  Jerry’s hefty, hairy body seemed to writhe as though he were moving to music only he could hear.  It looked as though he was doing his own private, naked-packing dance.

Then suddenly, as if on cue, Jerry abruptly  turned and strode straight toward the window where he looked out into the dark night.  I gasped at the full unobstructed view of him in all his pale, jiggling glory.

All I could think was: I certainly hoped he would be taking sunscreen with a high SPF to Mexico, because with all that pale skin he was really going to need it.

As my turkey burgers cooked, the packing continued.  Jerry had retreated to his closet returning with a big stack of what looked like beige polo shirts.  Oh, this wasn’t good.  I wanted to call up to him, “Jerry, dude, don’t take so many neutral shirts. You’re going to Mexico for god‘s sake!” Because as we all know, taking the wrong clothes can really affect the success of a trip.

By this time, it looked like Jerry’s suitcase was almost full and my turkey burgers were starting to burn.  Did I have enough material for a blog post?  I did.

It took all my willpower, but I knew what I had to do.  Silently, I stole one last, very long look at Jerry.

Then reluctantly, I turned off the grill, went inside and we ate dinner.

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1 Vonnie May 9, 2012 at 8:40 am

Nancy – love this post. I have a similar neighbor who does his dishes topless and luckily, I can’t see the rest. It wouldn’t be a pretty sight.

But, now that I’m beyond the initial ick factor, I’ve decided to use him as a thermostat. Living in South Florida, the AC is mandatory most of the time, except at his house. So whenever he’s wearing a shirt, I take it as a cue to open the windows and enjoy the cool night air. 🙂

2 Nancy Wurtzel May 9, 2012 at 10:21 am

Ha! Oh, you tell a good story…would love to be there to see for myself!! Cheers and thanks, as always for coming to read.

3 Kari Collins May 2, 2012 at 7:54 pm

I don’t know how you kept it to yourself. . . I would have had a friend on the phone! I use to have a old Italian man for a neighbor and he would mow the lawn in only a Speedo, socks and tennis shoes. The neighbors were all in their windows . . . an awesome sight in rural Texas! Love your writing, Nancy.

4 Nancy Wurtzel May 1, 2012 at 6:20 am

I don’t think he knew…but I never felt the same about him. I can still see it now (honestly, wanted to look away, but simply couldn’t!)

5 Mandy April 30, 2012 at 6:23 pm

Oh my … haven’t see a man naked in years … I wonder if Jerry knows you saw him … maybe he knew then …

6 Susan April 30, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Love the idea of you giving him packing tips while he is marching around in the alltogether natural state. SO FUNNY!

7 Nancy Wurtzel May 1, 2012 at 6:21 am

All true!! You have seen him, Susan. Altho he had clothes on!

8 Paulita April 30, 2012 at 12:13 pm

LMAO that’s hilarious! I’ll never be able to eat turkey burgers again w/o thinking of this!

9 Nancy Wurtzel May 1, 2012 at 6:21 am

Mission accomplished!

10 renee wagner April 30, 2012 at 10:54 am

nancy, top-notch story telling. you are among my favorite writers and i dare say among THE top-notch blogger. thank you for all the smiles and thought provoking messages. love,

11 Nancy Wurtzel May 1, 2012 at 6:19 am

Thanks for coming to read, Renee!

12 Nadine Feldman April 28, 2012 at 8:39 am

Hilarious! Well, in retrospect, anyway!

I love the writer’s mind…everything is material.

13 Nancy Wurtzel April 28, 2012 at 10:08 am

All true! My former husband still lives next door to Jerry & family — difficult for me to look him in the eye after this episode. All I see is the pink flesh!

14 Kelly April 27, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Talk about moving and shaking! I’m going to remember to put my blinds down from now on 🙂

15 Nancy Wurtzel April 27, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Yes, good to remember–especially on those dark moonless nights (and you have all your inside lights on)!

16 Tina McGrevy April 27, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Men think that they can do EVERYTHING naked. I don’t know why.

17 Nancy Wurtzel April 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Ha! So True…thanks for coming to read again, Tina!

18 Linda Landers April 27, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Good thing the situation wasn’t reversed with Jerry doing the BBQing and YOU packing in all your glory!

19 Nancy Wurtzel April 27, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Yes, and a lot of glory it would be!!!

20 DarleneMAM April 27, 2012 at 10:24 am

Whoa! Good thing you relocated!

21 Nancy Wurtzel April 27, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Hey Darlene, Yes…my former husband still lives next door to him. I never could look Jerry in the eye again!

22 lisa April 27, 2012 at 9:13 am

. . . so, has Jerry read this post yet? Or better yet, has his wife?

23 Nancy Wurtzel April 27, 2012 at 2:36 pm

My former spouse still lives next door to him. Jerry was always fond of walking around in the yard without a shirt on — it really wasn’t pretty. The full monty was quite disturbing.

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