2. Unrefrigerated, mayonnaise-based salads, and cheap BBQ potato chips
3. A clown for the kids
4. A fire engine for the slightly-older kids.
5. Bean-bag games (completely ignored) for the teenagers.
6. Lots of tables & chairs blocking the parkway, with groups of people separated by social status, political affiliation, and menthol vs. non-menthol. (They used to be separated by color as well, but our only black family moved away last fall. Right now, we're all either white or "Zimmerman" white.)
7. Street barricades
9. Roving packs of "Mrs. Kravits, '" moving like The Oblongs' "The Betty's"
10. Not nearly enough alcohol
But that wasn't always the case.
Here's how I've previously described my move-in:
Like many turn-of-the-century houses, mine was a neglected mess when I bought it in June, 2006. On the day I got the keys, the weeds in the yard were as tall as corn, and the interior was a nine room petri dish of human DNA & bad decor. It took two solid weeks of cleaning, painting, and dragging trash from the basement before I dared move a single piece of furniture in...and then another 6 months before I got the house to a state where I could walk around in white socks, and to not have to throw them away afterward. When I began the same process on the exterior the following spring, neighbors often stopped to compliment the property’s turnaround...and to vent their stories of the house’s previous absentee owners & tenants.
In my neighbors' defense, their blatant homophobia passed about two years ago. In the years before that (from 2006 through 2010), most people on the block completely stopped talking to me once they learned I was gay - going so far as to avoid my house for Halloween trick-o-treating. My immediate neighbor (next door) used to blare anti-gay rap music on his porch, when I was outside. Dog-walkers even let their animals crap in my yard, without cleaning it up. And all of this started - ironically - with the first block party that I attended.
One of these summers, I should volunteer to organize the fuckin' block party.
Maybe - instead of shitty burgers, shitty clowns, & shitty bean-bag games - I could organize some fun events that would showed my neighbors how gays take charge of the show. I'm thinking of a Halloween Rocky Horror party, or a Christmas party where everyone puts their keys in a bowl. I'm thinking of a New Years get-together, where the Baby-2014 jumps out of the cake wearing a leather harness...or a winter fling, where the "snow" costs $2,000 an ounce.
I'll show them a good time…!