Sunday, August 1, 2010

Whisper 2000

     My parents have these neighbors, a married couple that we call "The Brother and the Sister."  It's a whole other story as to how they got that name, but let's just say for now that I'm pretty sure that they sleep in two twin beds with a nightstand between them.  The Brother and the Sister are known around the neighborhood for several annoying behaviors, such as two hour leaf-blowing sessions starting at about seven a.m. on weekends and the most gaudy display of Christmas lights and decor that would rival Clark Griswold on a good day (complete with Christmas music played at an alarming decibel).  But neither of these are their most distinguishing characteristic...instead they are most well known for their Whisper 2000.  Now, there is no way to confirm that they actually use this sound amplifying spy device, but it makes a lot of sense when you consider that they always seem to know everything about everyone in the neighborhood despite the fact that no one really talks to them.  On summer evenings in my neighborhood you would see parents sitting out on their porch swings or casually visiting with their neighbors, while we kids ran through the yards in the midst of a game of release or played kickball in the open lot at the top of the block.  And then there would be the Brother and the Sister, sitting alone on their tiny porch taking it all in (and very likely gleaning bits of personal information about us all through the use of their Whisper 2000).  I mean it is uncanny the stuff that they know about you if you ever get trapped in a conversation with them near their fence.

     So for years my family and I have made fun of these people and their nosiness.  And it can be quite entertaining when they get their stories wrong.  The best was when we heard that they were telling people that my mom was never home at night anymore, implying that my parents' marriage was in some kind of shambles when in fact my mom was driving to Columbus to watch my infant daughter three days a week when I went back to work.  Nice.

     But despite all of the times I have made fun of the Brother and the Sister for this very thing...I want a Whisper 2000!  No, let me rephrase that, I need a Whisper 2000!  Why, you ask?  To gain personal information about my neighbors, of course!  Living in the city is a lot different than the small town that I grew up in where we were friendly with all of our neighbors and talked to them on a regular basis (with the exception of the Brother and the Sister).  I have lived in my current neighborhood for four years and I only talk to a handful of my neighbors (one of which I'm pretty sure is my stalker). Some I just rarely see outside and others are just not friendly.  But most of them are intriguing, which brings me to my need for the Whisper 2000.  There are things about these people that are so mysterious to me, and I desperately want to find out the answers!  Sure, I have my theories, but it would be nice to know if they were correct.  First, there is the issue of Weird Smoker Guy.  I only see this guy when he comes out on his porch to smoke.  He falls into the "just not friendly" category as I have tried on multiple occasions to say "hello," yet get no response.  Last winter I would have described him as "husky."  But, when he emerged again in the spring he was strangely thin, like to the point where I didn't even know if it was him...and he had a weird limp!  I have to know what happened to him--deadly disease?  crack addition?  I'm sure the Whisper 2000 would help me find out.  Then there is the nice gay couple down the street.  We exchange pleasantries when I see them, but we hardly have the kind of relationship where I can ask them why the ambulance shows up at their house at least once a week!  Again, the Whisper 2000 would really come in handy for figuring this kind of stuff out.  And what about the girl across the street who wears THE SAME outfit every time I see her!  Does it relate to her job or does she have some weird obsession with holey jeans and aviator sunglasses?

     The only thing that has stopped me from looking into ordering the Whisper 2000 online is the fear of being labeled as the creepy neighbor who spies on everyone.  (Who knows, I may already be labeled this--and the Whisper 2000 could help me find out!)  My curiosity is most piqued during the summer months when I am outside a lot and don't have a lot else to do.  I know that when school starts up again I'll be too busy to worry about what country my non-English speaking neighbors down the street are from.  They are all blonde and hard to place based on looks alone.  I mean, wouldn't it drive you crazy not to know?


  1. Is release like corning, something only kids from Toronto have done!I like your blog Gretchen. There is a big difference between the neighborhoods here and there. Hope to see more, Bill

  2. I don't know! It is a mixture of hide-and-seek and tag, but played with a team.

  3. Gretch, so glad Meat Toast is finally in the works! Even tho I'm sure I will appear as a crazy lunatic more times than not. Oh well, "if the shoe fits" right?

  4. Oh, I LOVED playing release! Thanks for bringing back all of our childhood memories. Keem them coming!