If you live in a “neighborhood” then chances are good you have neighbors. This is the first in a series of essays I’m dedicating to the wide variety of neighbors you’ve had the good luck to know, live near and/or become. So now, without further adu, I give you…”Volume One: The Social Climbers.”
Neighbors are very different when you buy a home compared with when you rent. Rental properties have a sense of indifference between the people who live next door to each other. People move in and move out all the time. You never know who will stay or who will leave, or who will move in afterwards. There is little personal investment in forming relationships because you are on an easy breezy one-year lease…not a heavy-duty thirty-year mortgage. When you own your own home it is imperative that you know who lives near you at all times for many reasons: safety, property value, friendships, gossip fodder.
The Social Climbers are a unique type of neighbor. Where some people hope to move in and relax into their surroundings, the Social Climbers have an agenda. Here is the agenda: move in, rise to the top of the food chain, take over the neighborhood. In fact, I’ve seen this happen enough times in my near decade of subdivisionism that I consider myself an expert in this area.
The Social Climber scenario always happens the same way. A house that is for sale on your street has a “SOLD” sign appear in the front yard one day. The neighbors all dream of the perfect people who will move in next. Or at least they all secretly wish “I hope someone normal finally moves in.”
Next, the moving van drops off the new neighbors and from all appearance they seem like good, friendly folk. Happy to know everyone, they wave “hello” and knock on a different door each day for a cup of sugar. Or a recommendation for a pet sitting service. Or to obtain or pass on gossip. Then one day, you notice the new neighbors are waving knowingly at every random car that drives by. You now suspect they know the inner workings of most of the families on your street. They are in with the in crowd.
But where does it end? The Neighborhood Planning Committee. Within a year of moving in, The Social Climbers are now President of the Neighborhood Summer Barbeque Group. And Co-Chief of the Street Wide Garage Sale. People now seek them out to ask for opinions on community fencing requirements or to pass on tidbits overheard on the local police scanner.
Ladies and gentlemen, The Social Climbers have arrived. The Social Climbers are now like the high school prom king and queen of the middle-aged set. Everyone rushes out to wave at them as they drive by in their state-of-the-art family sized vehicle. Everyone wants to give them a cup of sugar.
So, where does it all end? Well, in today’s world everyone wants the fame they’re due. No, I mean the fame that’s rightfully theirs. So when the next house that’s for sale on your street suddenly has a “SOLD” sign appear in its front yard, don’t be surprised if there is a knock at your door. Or a hearty hand waving as you drive by. Because the next neighbors who move in just might set up a turf war with the established neighborhood Social Climbers. And rest assured, the Neighborhood Summer Barbeque will certainly be one to remember.