Dear Brain: Stop Messing With My Head

I am really, really trying not to develop a crush on Javier.

Es no bueno idea. Es un muy bad idea.

Es happening. Un poquito. Or poco. One of those.

Aaaaand I’m out of Spanish.

The other night, in the neighborhood meeting place, we met up for a neighbors-who-hadn’t-seen-each-other-in-a-month drink (two glasses of wine for me, one for him – he paid when the check came, which I never expected) and wound up talking there, on the walk back to my house and in front of my house, for three and a half hours. Nothing crazy or really deep – though he did tell me what he’s struggling with at work on a meta, interpersonal level, and he did get treated to a version of the stalker story, for reasons I cannot recall, and then said he wants to hear the whole thing sometime, which he probably definitely does NOT, because men always say they want to hear a whole dramatic story and then remember after the fact that they don’t like drama and maybe they were just trying to be nice. Or pretend to be nice.

I digress.

There has been a bit of a situation in my psyche lately because of the impending nuptials of Puh-Puh-Puh and Blythe Danner’s fake daughter (I can’t even use actual not-actual names at this point). I blame this situation for the fact that I’m flailing a bit in my resolve not to develop a crush on Javier. Also I’m blaming his sexy accent.

Seriously, the other day I caught myself imagining an argument with him just to invent what he would sound like when he’s upset. Like Andy Garcia in “When A Man Loves A Woman.” (Which boasts one of the best of the gazillion covers of “Crazy Love” I’ve ever heard, performed by Brian Kennedy, not that anybody knows who that is.)

And the other night kind of felt like a pre-date. Which it absolutely, positively cannot have been.


It’s been kind of a random few days around here, if I’m honest. Miss Ella down the street has been all kinds of cray, which is really very sad and I can’t ignore it. One night I wound up in her kitchen with another neighbor because she claimed she smelled paint fumes, and I knew there would be no such thing, but we found a serious dearth of food, as well as a disconnected stove/oven because she baked an ice cube tray and its molten corpse remains in there while she insists with indignation that an elderly lady did it. Which is technically true.

The night that Javi and I met up, she was outside after midnight, asking us where her mother was and thinking she was out partying. This was Javi’s first dose of Miss Ella. He told me to let him know if I need help checking on her.

I’ve thought about taking her food nightly for dinner since she can’t heat anything up, but she also has no teeth. I took her some soft hot food the other night (for which Javier called me “so sweet!”). But the next night, when I tried to scope out whether she’d eaten it, the whole container was gone. I looked in the fridge and freezer and all the cabinets and drawers. There were a few new food items – some milk, a pound and a half of lunch meat still sealed days after purchase – but no rice and teeny-tiny chicken pieces and no container. So I’m guessing whoever came to check on her and bring her the lunch meat found the container still full of now-spoiled food because she never ate it. She was going to share it with her brother John, she told me. John, who some days is dead and other days is not.

It was when I heard her shuffling up and down the street calling out, “Mommy? Mom? Mommy?” at 5:00 Monday morning that I decided to contact the department of aging.

Well, that warranted a non-work-related conversation with Rick. I needed a direction to go in with the agency.

Yeah, it’s possible I slipped backward a little with him, too. Not far, just… not as cool and distant as I’ve historically been. It’s possible I was coy and coquettish.


I’d been doing so well.

Meanwhile, this weekend is the final official whole-family weekend for the final official weekend of the summer at the beach. I haven’t talked to my mother since the last time, which was August 1. Not out of spite, just out of upset and discomfort, and I even told her that via a brief email in response to her message telling my sisters and me (and my dad, because apparently they don’t talk to each other despite living in the same house as retirees) that a family friend’s toddler has cancer. She said she’s over our fight, “it was a bad night, but we can move on from here.”

Yeah, um… no, we kind of can’t.

But tonight, when I got home later than usual from work, I headed down to the next block to feed the neighbors’ cats while they’re on vacation and found my little neighbor Montrose walking down the street with $1.25 in his hand. Today was his second day of second grade, and he was going to get toilet paper from the store because they were out at his house. We chatted while we walked to the store and back together. Then I went to feed the cats and water the flowers outside while the little ones from a house nearby shyly tried to help. And on my return, there was neighbor Sly, who is delightful if constantly drunk, sitting outside with his arm in a makeshift cast after a fall. We chatted for a  minute or two before I moved on to Miss Ella, who chatted to me about how she can’t wait to move because she doesn’t like the neighborhood anymore. And then I went home and gave an old toaster to a new resident of the neighborhood.

And resisted any attempt to make any kind of contact with Javier.


6 thoughts on “Dear Brain: Stop Messing With My Head

  1. Your neighborhood is fascinating. Clearly you are an awesome neighbor/person even if you feel you’re slipping a little. Under the circumstances I think you’re handling things well, should give yourself a break and stay away from that last weekend at the beach with your mother. But thats just me. 🙂

    • Yep – the neighborhood can be very entertaining. I really like it here. Craziness and all. Thank you for the credit you give me. I can’t not go to the beach, though… it’s a significant weekend and it matters to others that I be there. So… we’ll see!

  2. You could write a sitcom about that neighborhood of yours. Might want to consider it. And what’s wrong with thinking about Javiar? Is he single? Is he cute? Is he a citizen? Then go for it! De Nada.

    • Hmmm… that’s actually true!
      I forgot to mention in this post that Javier has a girlfriend. She’s not around much, but she exists. Yes, he’s cute – duh. 🙂 I think he’s a citizen at this point, but I can’t be sure. And he did mention he sometimes thinks about moving back to Colombia…

  3. You know more about your neighbors than I do – and we all live under one roof. Love the characters. And who knows – maybe Javier will tire of the distance relationship and decide to aim for someone more geographically desirable?

    • Haha she lives about three miles away. But yes – in our ‘hood, that is SO FAR. Still, I really have to teach myself to stop being interested in men who aren’t available to me in some way or another.

      And when I lived in my apartments, I didn’t know my neighbors. One or two, that was it. same sitch as a condo. I think there’s this tendency to overcompensate for privacy because you know you’re all clustered so close and can hear each other through walls and floors.

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