Six years ago, I packed up my belongings and moved into the very first home I would ever own. A week or so after that, I naively attended my first neighborhood association meeting.
As those who have volunteered with neighborhood activities before read along and sagely nod their heads, let me tell you neighborhood newbies something.
THEY SUCK YOU IN!
It starts innocently enough with a committee that needs a hand. The next thing you know, there's a fun committee that needs a new leader. After that there's a couple shifts at a neighborhood event, followed by a teeny tiny leadership position that you totally have time for, of course, because it's just so little to ask, really, when you live in such a great neighborhood, and let's be honest, you're getting to know your neighbors and having a great time and then suddenly, SUDDENLY, you wake up and it's four years later and you're planning neighborhood clean-ups and figuring out the rules around picking up discarded hypodermid needles in your downtown park and attending IHPC meetings and fighting against historic buildings being torn down or fighting for historic buildings TO be torn down for new development and organizing Easter Egg hunts and Christmas Parties and YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE KIDS AND HOW THE HECK ARE YOU IN CHARGE OF THIS.
But as much as the neighborhood sucked me in, I loved it. I loved sitting on the Land Use committee and loved helping plan activities and loved going to the meetings and loved all my neighbors who would get all uppity and cute and dramatic and INFLAMED about things like- whoa- let's raise dues from $5 to $10.
And yet, despite my love for the neighborhood and how much I missed it, when Cute Boy and I decided to move to a neighborhood about 15 minutes north that wasn't historic, I knew I'd have the opportunity to get back some of the time I spent each month on neighborhood issues- because here, we didn't have any.
Frankly, the most "associating" I planned on doing with my new neighbors was the occasional hello over the fence, the kind wave as we drove by, the vegetables that appeared on our porch this week from our adorable next-door neighbors who have been there since 1967.
OR SO I THOUGHT.
Until this morning.
When, as he sorted the mail, Cute Boy discovered an innocent-looking baby-blue flier.
For our brand-new neighborhood association.
The first meeting is today.