DEAR FACEBOOK FRIEND:
Whenever my family and I head out to the back yard to relax, our next-door neighbor comes out of her house and just stares at us. She watches us, not moving or speaking, until we go back inside. It’s very uncomfortable, but we can’t figure out a way to start a conversation with her about it. Can you help?
-Creeped Out in Cranston
Hello there, friend from the Kinko’s store where we worked for six months in college! Although it’s been seventeen years since we’ve had an actual conversation, and despite the fact that I’m not sure whether your oldest child is named “Brandon” or “Brendan,” you sure have come to the right place for advice about a neighbor I’ve never heard of or met.
First off, PICS OR GTFO! I am *dying* to see what this woman looks like. Is she a crazy old lady with Alzheimer’s, or is she more of a weird, overmedicated spinster with nothing to live for? Either way, I’m envisioning her wearing a ratty bathrobe and slippers with dog poop smeared all over the bottoms. And I bet her hair is all unwashed and janky with curlers half-hanging out of it. OMG, YOU KNOW WHAT? If she looks hilarious enough, you could turn her into a Facebook meme! It might even go viral! Because respecting the privacy of people who may be lonely and/or mentally ill is for suckers.
Okay, let’s get down to brass tacks. You want to engage your neighbor and find out what the actual fuck her problem is, right? Simple—just ask her about her fitness regimen. I love to talk about mine, which you probably already know, since I post CrossFit updates on Facebook three or four times a day. (And don’t forget the pictures of me weightlifting and grimacing like a baboon bearing down on a stubborn dump.) Maybe your weirdo neighbor has a personal trainer, or works out at Pure Barre, or does hot yoga—she’s gotta be doing something or else she’d be watching you from a Rascal scooter. Find out what she does for exercise, and you can interrogate her about her creepy fascination with your family from there.
If that approach to starting a dialogue doesn’t work, why not ease into a conversation with your neighbor by showing her a thousand blurry, washed-out pictures of my cats and children? I don’t want to brag or anything, but my photos are all SUPER cute and unique. Especially the one of my preschooler trick-or-treating in his Target-brand Spiderman costume that every other four-year-old boy also has. I mean, it doesn’t get any more TOTES ADORBS than that! Or maybe your neighbor’s an animal lover—if so, you know she won’t be able to resist the thirty-six identical pictures I have of my cat sleeping. Once she starts ooh-ing and aah-ing, you can be all: “I know, right?! THE CUTEST! Also, why the fuck do you keep staring at my family?”
Hope this helps, and don’t be a stranger, okay? I NEVER SEE YOU in the 31 Purses group that I forced all of my friends to join.