Sunday, June 08, 2008

Friendly Neighborhood Fight Club

Really and truly, I am not kidding you, our neighbors set up a boxing ring in their backyard and all day long, shirtless guys have been drinking beer and bashing each other in the face. It's delightful. What kind of neighborhood do we live in, you ask, that something like this might happen? It's not the neighborhood's fault! It's the homeowner's fault -- he's a [very nice] National Guardsman who bought the house right when he got back from Iraq, then promptly decided to move to California to marry his pregnant girlfriend. I wholly support that decision, dude, just: sell the house first! Don't rent it to a pit-bull-neglecting, something-sordid-always-happening-in-the-hot-tub, stare-into-space-and-smoke-on-the-porch-all-day, fight-club-having random guy. PLEASE!

I don't know exactly what this guy does for a living (the renter), but it's some kind of skilled labor thing like underwater welding where he travels a lot for long jobs, and when he's gone, for months at a time, a loserly rotation of friends dogsits for the pitbulls. This is typical weird (though not obnoxious or noisy) behavior of the house-sitters: sit on the back porch for hours, smoke, stare at nothing. Not a book in sight. Who does that? You know, I read a book recently in which this one character was a brilliant theoretical physicist, and her job was just to sit and think of other dimensions and stuff. So, maybe they're not at all losers. Maybe they're physicists. But I don't think so.

Anyway, primary renter guy is back for the summer, and his first act, apparently, is fight club. Jim said to me last night after taking Leroy out into the yard: "I think they built a boxing ring in the backyard." It hardly seemed plausible, though it did indeed look like nothing but a boxing ring. I thought it was probably too much to hope they were staking out a vegetable garden! And this morning, the usual posse of friends assembled and started to grow. And grow. And grow. And then the boxing gloves came out. And the hitting. And the cheering, and the dinging of bells. Goth chicks with mohawks and neck braces on the porch cheering. Beer.
Jim immediately started scrolling through real-estate websites, as if it would be possible for us to move now, today.

Just out of curiosity I called the police (non-emergency line) to ask if backyard boxing is legal, and it turns out it IS. Goody! It might have been my imagination, but I think the lady on the phone took a little pleasure in assuring me there was nothing to be done. "Parties are not illegal," she said coolly. I formed a picture of her in my mind, based on the fact that boxing is, to her, "a party."

Anyway, it's getting dark now, and they've been at it all day, and now they're starting in on fireworks. I love them. I love them so much. And that boxing ring, it looks built to last. I'm guessing this might be a regular summer thing. Yay! (Okay, okay, it wasn't really that bad. They didn't really make that much noise, and they didn't have loud music, and as far as I know, no one died and was buried in the corner. As far as I know. It just takes a little getting used to, I guess.)

Anyway, boxing and all, I still managed to have a good revising day. I did bad things to good characters, as a writer often must. (And I enjoyed it a little. Is that wrong?)

By the way, and this is much more important than boxing: today makes SEVEN YEARS OF WEDDED BLISS to THIS wonderful man. Seven years ago today we got married in Berkeley, and every year, though I seem to like people in general less and less all the time, I like -- and love -- Jim more and more, even when it doesn't seem possible I could like and love him more than I already do! We get along better than any couple I have ever met or heard of, we almost always feel like doing the same thing, whether it is staying in or going out, eating veggie corndogs for lunch, seeing a movie, watching nothing buy Buffy for months in a row; and we always like and dislike (and sort-of-like) the same people, and we can [almost] communicate telepathically when we are watching a stupid play and want to mock the actors without making them feel bad. (That happened last night. I say "almost telepathically" because it in fact required discreet hand pressure. But I feel quite certain we were transmitting whole disdainful sentences to each other by means of subtle thumb pressure! Oh, and we have a short tune we hum that means "thank you," instead of saying "thank you," and a hand signal that means "beam me out of here now," and we have a code word, just in case either one of us ever suspects the other of being an imposter, but I can't remember what the code word is!! Hmmm. That could be a problem. . .

It's me, I swear. Sweetie . . .?

(Oh wait, I just asked Jim, and he doesn't remember the code word either. Oh my god. Do you think that means we are both imposters?? And if we are does that mean that maybe the real "us's" (I don't think there is a plural form of "us") are living together elsewhere, perhaps in a villa? With servants? And no backyard boxing?)

Check out the awesome sculpted Goth circus chick Jim got me for an anniversary gifty:

In fact, he went a little nutty on Etsy and bought a small slew of awesome sculptures, but they have not all arrived yet. And I, in return, gifted him with Radiohead tickets for later this summer. Radiohead is Jim's favorite band and he has never seen them live, and this is an act of love for me, because I am not really a joyful concert goer. I know, I know you don't understand, something's wrong with me, etc etc, but I just get bored at concerts, even really good ones, and ten minutes in I'm just wishing desperately for a book and a flashlight!! But, this once, I can do it. I'm interested. Everyone says they're great live, that they're geniuses beyond my comprehension, and that Thom Yorke has a spastic stage presence, which should be entertaining.

Aside from the mock-worthy play last night, we had dinner at our favorite Indian restaurant, Bombay Cricket Club. Love it!
My favorite thing there, which I must invariably order, the chicken tikka masala:
And here's Jim, about to confront his favorite drink, the infamous "snake shake."

On the way home, we were beside a HumVee limo for blocks, and I think it must have been a middle-school graduation celebration, because young girls were hanging out its windows for three blocks yelling that they loved my hair. That made me feel good!


P.S. Oh, when I told Alexandra I'd gotten Radiohead tickets for Jim, she said, "That doesn't sound so fun. We should go to Barry Manilow. He's coming." And she was serious, bless her heart. Barry Manilow.


Jim Di Bartolo said...

Trust me when I say how lucky I am Sweetie. SMOOCH! (and I'm talking about you and us, NOT the backyard boxing bonanza...)


Jone said...

Happy Anniversary! And the boxing ring, OMG! Are you kidding me? Remember, Palahniuk lives in Portland and he did write Fight Club.

Elise Murphy said...

I was going to take a break from blog commenting in general and WRITE more . . . but I couldn't help but respond to this one.

Rome is burning.

Oh, wait, this is actually quite Roman. Ack!

Happy Anniversary. It is 10 years for us on Thursday and I thought we were the best couple in the world. We might have to go for a celebrity death match to find out the truth.

(I hear next door is available).

Rhonda the Stitchingnut said...

Happy Anniversary!

Fight Club ... Boxing Ring?!! I would say I'm lucky not to be next door to that, but now I'm worried. We have new young neighbors and there are a lot of "coming & going" of friends and "cha-cha" music and now they have a little [little for now] pool as of this weekend. But what if they see your blog about the backyard Boxing Match PARTY? Oh Nooooooo!

Alex S said...

Oh my gosh you weren't exaggerating!!!! That is so funny! Please tell me you guys remembered to pass out my sweet new business cards to each and every one of them- thats like 30 clients right there! but wow, thats quite funny stuff. I hope its the first in a summer series...

and no no no I was not serious Fatso about Barry Manilow. Hey, does Harry Chapin give concerts in the Moonlit Gardens? I was wondering about that!

And most importantlly, happy happy anniversary to you two nut tweedies and many, many more!!! You are big, shiny, cosmic balls of joy!

Liana said...

Yay! Happy Anniversary! My man and I will have been married for 6 years, come October...and it is REALLY great and almost unbelievable how the love AND liking seem to grow and grow the more our marriage progresses...and, like you, I feel like there are many married couples who aren't as happy together as we are, just from stories I've heard or read...and that just makes me feel all the more blessed!
Congratulations and yay for love and marriage and friendship all rolled into one, AS IT SHOULD BE. :)

GreenishLady said...

Happy Anniversary to you two. Nice celebration! Boxing in the backyard? Don't know if I could cope. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary. You are the lucky ones!!! Back yard fight club-that is so scary-Hope it does not start a trend!

Stephanie Perkins said...

My favorite thing? That guy on the roof, filming the fight! Maybe you can steal a copy of his video and show it to the homeowner. Wonder what he'd think of a boxing ring in his backyard...

Totally messed up & scary. I'm so sorry!

But HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!! Seven years is definitely something to celebrate. And BIG YAY for Radiohead! (Nicest. Gift. Ever.) I hope you enjoy the show & aren't tempted to whip out that flashlight. If you do, please lie to me later & tell me it was the greatest concert you've ever been to. I will believe you.

(By the way, don't tell my husband, but I'm carrying Thom Yorke's secret love child. We're calling her "Bambi," and we're hoping she gets his musical prowess & my blue hair.)

Q said...

Oh, you two are so cute. Congratulations!

Heather said...

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to both of you and big congratulations!

I'd check with the City on the boxing ring. It may be legal to box in your back yard, but it may NOT be legal to build an actual structure in which to box. Some equally wonderful neighbours from our old hood built a skate ramp in their back yard and the City made them tear it down. Sigh. Sucky neighbours suck.

P.S. I dislike concerts also and would be sitting next to you with a booklight and novel! Hee!

Marianne said...

Congratulations on being the best couple in the world for seven years! That deserves many fabulous snake shakes to celebrate.

I'm sure it really is illegal to run boxing competitions in your backyard. Someone could have put an eye out!

Hoping to see you cats in July!


b+ (Retire In Style Blog) said...

If you move, like we are planning on doing, please don't jump from the frying pan into the fire. (We will try not to do that.) Better a known evil than an unknown one!

Just word of advice from an old soul!


Claudia said...

Happy anniversary!

Anonymous said...

oh happiest of happy 7 year anniversary!!!

I love how you have a plan in the event one of you is kidnapped by aliens and you must test to see if they are 'real' or not-- we do that, too-- it's not so much a word clue as it is a question that ONLY they could answer . . . we create these questions a bit too often, perhaps? hmm

and GOD the boxing-- ARGH-- our move was prompted by Harley Davidson taking down the old barn across the street from us and storing snowmobiles there, and oh yeah-- having LIVE BANDS playing all Saturday-- really really really bad live bands-- how bad? So bad they had to crank the speakers up as far as they could go-- you know, to make them sound better--

it was awful and the police were no help-- "they have a permit," quoth the officer.... and WHO GAVE THEM SAID PERMIT, quoth I . . but, hey-- we up and built a solar home far far away from the people who enjoy such things on a Saturday so alls well that ends well

Bisous, Bluepoppy

Amber Lough said...

Happy 7th Anniversary!

And chicken tikka masala is the best. Seriously.

Our anniversary is this summer, too, but it's wedged in with the conference, Elizabeth's birthday, a workshop I'm teaching, and Jim's birthday. Crazy month, August.

The Crescat said...

did someone bring their kid to a backyard boxing match? lol. that's not good parenting.

Katie Anderson said...

I am cracking up!!! What a hilarious sub-culture going on right next door! Thanks for the pictures to prove it. and congrats on seven years. What a precious marriage testimony :-)

Vivian Mahoney said...

Happy Anniversary! And now you have the Fight Club neighbors...I'm sure there will be interesting stories to tell. And perhaps a new code word.

Thanks so much for sharing your anniversary celebration photos. So sweet!

flutterbean said...

I would like you introduce your neighbors to mine - the 'Tuesday night partiers', I'm certain they would become fast friends! Yes, I said Tuesday night, why Tuesday night rather than say, Friday night? I can only speculate. I believe they work some sort of strange shift, like firefighters do, but I don't think they do anything so nobel, otherwise how could they think it's ok to keep normal working people up so late with their loud music and firecrackers on a Tuesday night? By the way - THEY'RE RENTERS TOO! UGH!!

liz elayne lamoreux said...

happy (belated) anniversary!
we totally have a code phrase as well for that very reason (hmmm...too many sci-fi/fantasy novels/movies watched?) and once jon forgot and i told him so now i will never really know if he is an imposter...

backyard boxing. wow. all i can say is wow.

Caroline said...

Hi Liani - its ages since I popped in on your blog, many apologies... when it popped up as a "recommended feed" on googlereader of course I had to visit and somehow I've ended up here at the beginning of the fight club season.

So though its almost three months late - happy anniversary - my husband is called Jim and I feel just the way about my Jim that you describe your relationship with yours.

And yes your hair really rocks!