The house across the street from us sold after barely a week on the market. It’s the second time a house on our block has gone up for sale, and it’s the second time I’ve been sitting at the front window, looking out and wondering who the new neighbors will be.
Even after more than a year, I haven’t ever met the first set of new neighbors. They’re really never outside, and haven’t come to any neighborhood parties. So I hope the new people are a bit more friendly. But not meeting the first set means I get to make up all kinds of stories: They moved to Seattle from Bellevue as some sort of mid-life crisis; he is some kind of VP but now spends more time cycling, golfing and drinking beer than actually working; she splits her time between a job in the arts and volunteer work; her VW Beetle convertible was a gift after her husband screwed up big time … and on and on.
I find myself making up backstories for all kinds of people. Those that catch my attention on the street, a dressing room monitor working in a retail store, the woman that packs our groceries every week … some days, everyone gets a story. I love exercising my backstory muscles—I end up with a library to pull from, or completely deviate from. The wild-haired woman automatically becomes the flighty woman; the immaculately dressed middle-aged man is always a hot-shot in business. But what if that guy was actually a carefree potter, only in a suit because his mother suggested he wear it to a gallery meeting? Plus, these short little stories work well if I need someone in the background for a one-time appearance.
As for the new neighbors, without knowing who bought the house, I already have a couple of stories rattling around my head. Mostly, I hope they’re friendly.