Friday, July 16, 2010

Ya Movin' In (Times Seven)

Last Sunday, I finally got to meet my new neighbor. Then on Monday I got to meet her again. Same thing on Tuesday. I met her on Wednesday too and yesterday and I'll probably meet her again today.

Reba is like the "Memento" of neighbors. She has no short term memory. I know, of course I get a neighbor like this. She's also about 900 years old and has these two, infinitely patient black ladies LaTonya and Charlise who take care of her. At first I thought LaTonya and Charlise were my neighbors and that they did hair extensions and nails out of their garage (they advertise their service all over both of their cars). Then I met Reba and realized that they had some kind of "Driving Miss Daisy" thing going on over there (as Reba is a crotchety old white lady) and that it was Reba's house and LaTonya and Charlise just worked there. Apparently they do hair extensions and nails out of Reba's garage because she can't remember anything anyway.

Now, I've provided you an image of what Reba looks like. For the most part, she is the spitting image of the old lady from the Hallmark cards, but with one exception.

Reba's teeth prevent me from being able to look at her without wanting to simultaneously vomit and have hysterics.

Reba has dentures that seem to not fit properly and she constantly plays with them in what has become a tic. She takes her tongue and uses it to push the top dentures forward, throwing them out of her mouth. Then she tongues the dentures until they sit at a complete slant in her mouth and leaves them there for a few seconds (it's utterly horrifying to look at) and then she does some more elaborate tongue maneuvers to flip the dentures around so they are upside down and then continues the process until they are back in place. Once the dentures are back in place she repeats the whole thing and all the while she never shuts up. So imagine this 900 year old, crotchety old white lady trying to talk while performing complicated tongue exercises with a mouth full of false teeth. It's disturbing and I have never seen someone of any age demonstrate such agility with her tongue. She must have been popular with the boys back in her day (eww, did I just say that?). Someone needs to get Reba some Fixodent and then give her a jar of maraschino cherries to work on. She could win those contests they have in bars to see who can tie a knot in a cherry stem the fastest.

Last Sunday my sister came over to see my new house and we were out in the yard ogling the mango tree when Reba, flipping her dentures, wearing a housecoat and pushing a walker, flanked on each side by LaTonya and Charlise, starts hollering across the yard at me.


Now as an aside here, I become very upset when I hear language like this. The two words "My Property" uttered in any context are never a good sign. Stay away from people who pepper their conversations with talk of "My Property." I'm serious. I think those two words trigger some kind of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder response in me, both from my white trash childhood and from working at the country club. White trash people are always demanding people get off of and stay away from their property and if this is not done there are numerous threats about calls to police and these outbursts usually come during custody battles, at weddings, when it's really hot in August and everyone's window units at the trailer park stop working and of course, at Christmas. At the country club I heard people screaming about their property every time I answered the phone. So I think it's easy to see why I was very unnerved to have an old woman, whom I've never met in my life, start hollering about my trash can having crossed a hair over the invisible property line, the boundaries of which I am not yet familiar.

I apologized, but she just kept yelling (and flipping her teeth over), while Charlise, now behind Reba, made the twirly finger sign for "crazy" meaning for me to ignore the old woman. I went inside and told my husband to move the trash can and the first thing he asked was if I saw Reba's teeth.

An hour later, we went back outside and there was Reba again, having completely forgotten the trash can situation, still flipping her teeth and shuffling around in her driveway. This time she asked us if we were moving in and introduced herself to us.

The next day she did the same thing. And every day since. I don't know how she manages it, but every time I pull into my own driveway, Reba magically appears in hers. I've tried to pretend like I'm on the phone so I don't have to talk to her. I've actually backed out and left to avoid it. I can't handle the teeth. Those teeth really freak me out and worse is that my husband and I have analyzed and cracked ourselves up over whatever Reba is doing in her mouth that now we can't talk to Reba when we are together or we burst out into uncontrollable, pants-peeing fits of laughter and revulsion. I know, we are very immature. But seriously, you have to see it.

Worse yet is that my mother got to meet Reba too.

"Ya movin' in?" Reba asked, I guess to both of us.

Then she flipped her teeth and the look on my mother's face was priceless.

"What the F is that woman doing with her dentures?" she asked once we were inside, "Because I couldn't look at it."

A few minutes later we went back outside to get more stuff out of the car.

"Ya All Movin' in?" Reba yelled.


Jean_Phx said...

I love this - you rock!

Vic said...

Of course this is your neighbor. I'm sure the Powers That Be wouldn't have it any other way.
I've tried to be patient, but the chiropractor, ala Yoda up there waiting to be revealed, is driving me to distraction. More, please.

nandy said...

I know this is mean spirited, but given her apparent age and not-so-healthy state, I doubt Reba will be around long.

Here's hoping she provides lots of fodder for your blog until then.

catherine said...

I used to work in senior care, and one of my clients, due to a very bad temper when she first woke up, was allowed to sleep in til 10 instead of 8 like everyone else. Even then you had to gently rub her shoulder and yell in her ear as she was stone deaf that it was time to get up. First thing is she would curse you out, try to hit you with the cane and tell you what an evil person you were as you helped her onto the commode chair. You would then tell her the other nurse would be right with her. You step outside the curtain, count to ten, walk back in, then say "well goodmorning "daisy" I see you are already up". And then she would tell you how awful that "other" nurse was, how she pushed her out of bed, and beat her.
It was frigging hilarious playing good nurse/bad nurse with her.

She also wasn't allowed salt because of high blood pressure, and she would argue with the other nurses because they would only put a little on. I took the lid off the salt shaker, covered it with saran wrap and put the lid back on. Then I would give it a really good shake over her food, and ask her if that was better.(no salt would come out) She said that it was perfect, and that I was the best nurse in the whole place. LOL
but she wouldn't remember me after 5 minutes, and it would all start again.

You can seriously mess with this woman (nicely, tell her your a russian spy), tell her anything and she won't remember. It's like groundhog day :D

Anonymous said...

The two words "My Property" uttered in any context are never a good sign. Stay away from people who pepper their conversations with talk of "My Property."

This is why I love your blog. You are the most instinctive and acute observer of homo americanus I've ever come across.

Rich said...


DoYogaFeelGreat said...

Awww... poor lady. Fun for us though!

mcgrimus said...

Makes me wonder how people like this were when they had their wits. Maybe whatever stole her short-term memory (a stoke? the side effect of some medication?) also turned her wacko. Or maybe not being able to remember turns one paranoid and crazy. Either way, another character joins the denizens of WLNM. She'll fit right in.

Johnny Virgil said...

You MUST get her picture. Or better yet, a video of this teeth-flipping.

Unknown said...

I absolutely concur with Johnny Virgil. We must have visual documentation of the teeth. We must!

Reiven said...

Introducing Reba, "America's got talent's" 2010 winner!

Melissa said...

I used to think that I needed to see Italy and Greece for my life to feel truly complete. Now I need to see Italy, Greece and Reba's amazing denture gymnastics.

JoeinVegas said...

Are you going to get hair extensions?

About Me

Blog Archive