Sunday, May 1, 2016

Cyberstalking our old neighbors...

Back in October 2003, Bill and I moved from a shitty apartment in Fredericksburg, VA to a single family house on Fort Belvoir, an Army post in northern Virginia.  While many people hate living on military installations because of the craziness and drama, at the time, we were delighted to have the chance to move on post.  I hated the apartment for many reasons.  We made the decision to move when my car got broken into and the neighborhood began to feel distinctly unsafe.

I never actually believed we'd get to live on post.  We were led to believe the housing list was too long.  But one day, I was sitting at home and the phone rang.  It was the housing office at Fort Belvoir and they had quarters for us.  I called Bill at work and left him a message and we moved ourselves up there right after we lost our dog, CuCullain, to a mycobacterial infection.

As we were moving in, the lady who lived next door came over with cookies.  She welcomed us to the neighborhood, which I thought was very nice.  She and her husband had two cute daughters and a flat coated collie named Truffle.

Compared to the pot smoking noisy college kids we had been living next to, our new neighbors seemed really great.  But then we got to know them better.

I can't really say that they were bad people, per se.  The husband was clearly very ambitious and an Academy graduate.  The wife seemed to be the perfect mother.  The daughters were super sweet and well behaved.  But as we got to know them, I noticed that they seemed a little "off".  Like they didn't like us very much.

One day, the younger daughter asked if Bill and I had any kids.  I said that Bill did, but I didn't.  That is the truth.  He has two daughters, but they aren't my daughters.  I have only met them once, so I can't even really call them my stepdaughters anymore.  They have nothing to do with us.

Anyway, after that conversation, I noticed a distinct and disapproving chill in the air.  It was noticeable enough that it made me feel uncomfortable.  I could tell that they avoided us.  I began to feel like they thought their shit didn't stink.

I started to notice the mom taking walks and usually looking really pissed off.  I noticed her husband running around the block with no shirt on and driving a big flashy truck.  It seemed like they were going through the motions of being the perfect family, but there was an undercurrent of hostility even among them that made them seem almost sterile.  They seemed to have no sense of humor, or their humor was of the goofy Disney flavored kind.  

Though I haven't seen or heard from that family in about twelve years, I was suddenly reminded of them while I was watching an episode of Army Wives yesterday.  One of the characters was having a baby and the wives threw her a shower.  One of the gifts given at the shower was called a "boo boo bear".  You put it in the freezer to put on a child's "boo boo".  It's supposed to soothe them.

While I was watching that scene, I had a sudden flashback to a conversation I had with my old neighbor.  She told me her sister had died.  Her little daughter added that she'd had a "boo boo" on her heart.

Because I was bored and feeling nosy, I decided to see if I could find out whatever happened to that family.  It turned out their presence online was pretty minimal, but I did manage to track them down.  It turns out the husband is now a colonel in charge of a combat readiness center.  The wife, whom I knew was a registered nurse who had taken a few years off work to be a stay at home mom, had gone back to school, earned a master's degree in nursing from the University of Phoenix, then went back again and got her PhD from the University of Tennessee.  I see that she now teaches nursing.

And then I discovered that this family is also LDS and suddenly everything made perfect sense.

I don't know if I ever mentioned Bill's ties to Mormonism to them.  Knowing me, I probably did.  I don't know when I would have, though, because they weren't really all that friendly.  I don't remember having any deep conversations with them.

But anyway, after cyberstalking them yesterday, now I totally get it.   I can definitely see why they wouldn't like me.  I would not be the least bit surprised if the husband makes general.  He's the kind of person who looks the part.   

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