It's not my fault I've been raised to be a hermit. Growing up at the end of a 5 mile dirt road in the shadow of a mountain does not lend itself to being all that neighborly. When we'd see more than one puff of car dust come of the road per day, the same routine would inevitably ensue. Someone would go the drawer and get the binoculars. That someone would then attempt to identify the vehicle. If the car wasn't familiar, there'd be more squinting through binoculars accompanied by disgusted comments about the over abundance of traffic that day. Like I said, my nature is not my fault.
So today when we got home from church and our neighbors of two months poked their faces over the wall asked us over for some pinata beating, I sort of squeezed my butt muscles and looked at Nic like a creepy man just offered me a fuzzy lollipop. Nic, the consummate Mr. Friendly warmly accepted.
We walked exactly ten steps from our front door to theirs. Franklin was from Dominican Republic and his wife, from Mexico. We were given Capri Suns and plates piled with fresh crab salad, halves of avocados and a salsa so hot I had to secretly keep wiping my water hose nose on my sleeve. It was food from heaven.
They explained to us that though the party was to start at 6:00, Latin people are late so we might be hanging out for a while. In the back yard I sat next to a young girl who escaped from Cuba with her family and who was glad to be rid of government issued food rations of 5lbs of rice and six eggs per person per month. More people trickled in bringing more food: chilies stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon (I'm so biting my knuckle right now), BBQ ed chicken thighs, pans of rice and more salsas....oh the salsas.
A tiny and perfectly manicured man came in with a plaid cap, pink polo, and shiny brown boots. He turned on the irresistible beat of salsa and mirenge music. People got up from their chairs and danced with glasses of wine still in hand. I'm pretty sure I've mastered salsa dancing. It goes a little somthin' like this: Chicken wings out, fists to chest, hips all Shakira style and use your toes to squash, squash, squash the bug MINI KICK! Repeat.
At one point Nic looked over and said, "So do you feel like a total dork shunning our neighbors this whole time?" I said, "Yes." Then I ate another bacon wrapped chili.
Eventually I had to be the wet blanket and tell the kids that 19 Tootsie rolls was the limit and it was an hour past bedtime. I did my best to get them home, scrub the layers of sucker slime from their faces and get them to bed. Then I went in my room and put on the purple muu-muu Nic hates and spied out my window into the neighbor's back yard (sans binoculars). They were still dancing and I was oh so glad Nic made me be friendly.