We all know about the Neighborhood Crazy Lady. She's usually older; she wears her pajamas a lot, maybe a housecoat. She's particularly interested in what everyone else on the block is doing. You see her beady eye peering through the blinds; she seems to linger too long when she takes out the garbage (sometimes the can is actually empty); she knows too much about that strange dog in your driveway.
One thing I never understood about the Neighborhood Crazy Lady was that she probably knew that's what she was but didn't care. I understand that now because I am my condo association's very own Neighborhood Crazy Lady and I know it but don't care.
I live in a beautiful, not to mention historic, old building in midtown Atlanta. Its primary claim to fame is that Margaret Mitchell lived here after she wrote Gone with the Wind. Although I'm not as old as Margaret (Peggy to those of us a tad obsessed with her) would have been had she survived crossing Peachtree Street in 1949 (certainly something all Atlantans can identify with),I am currently the oldest person living in my building. Most of the other owners are just children in their mid-thirties to early fifties. I am definitely the Hag.
My friend, Susan, who lives directly below me, could be considered the Hag Apparent or the Hag in Waiting. While not nearly as old or crazy as I, she definitely has potential. One afternoon as I was looking out my window to see the final departure of a man who had certainly warranted lots of watching over the previous months, Susan called me. "Did you see him?" she asked. "How did you know I was looking?" I responded. "Because I heard your big old feet running to the window every time I headed toward MY window." Yep, the girl has real potential.
But that's not the only evidence of my commitment to being the Nosy Nora of Piedmont Avenue. There's a handsome attorney who just goes ahead and waves every afternoon when he arrives home from work. He knows I'll be at my kitchen window fixing my early bird dinner at exactly the same time every day, and I've seldom disappointed him. Then there's the neighbor around the corner who keeps his blinds closed ALL THE TIME and the owners who are NEVER THERE. What's up with that? I only go to Condo Association meetings if they are in units I haven't visited before or if something really juicy is going on. If there's an open house for a condo that's up for sale, I'm there bright and early Sunday afternoon, walking through rooms and checking out storage space. And, I'm definitely the one to yell out the window if people are making a ruckus in the outdoor common area at a ridiculously late hour, say 8:30 PM.
So, there you have it. I've gone from being the party girl who could always be counted on to be the loudest person at any gathering early or late, the woman too busy to worry about someone else's arrest warrant, to the lady who stays in her PJ's all weekend pretending to work on her computer and eating tuna out of the can. The fact that her desk placement affords the best view to the most units in the building, along with maximum ingress and egress routes, is just a coincidence. Excuse me while I take out the garbage.