Friday, September 8, 2023

My wife says I'm the assistant mayor of our street

When I was growing up, the joke in our house was that my dad  who would have turned 94 years old this week, by the way  was mayor of Harding Drive.

This unofficial-yet-very-real job, which he embraced, obligated him to head outside whenever anything new, different or just plain suspicious was happening on our street.

Was someone getting a tree cut down? Dad was there talking with the crew (and probably offering advice on how to get the job done).

Was there an ambulance in front of someone's house? Dad was on the scene, often acting as a sort of spokesperson to anyone who stopped by to ask what was going on. That is, once he had grilled the paramedics or others willing to brief him on the situation.

Even if it was just a strange car parked in front of our house, he was on the case. You never can be too careful.

I always laughed at this until I became a street mayor myself.

Actually, it's more accurate to say I'm vice mayor. My next-door neighbor Joe has a longer tenure on Miller Avenue and is probably the only person who knows all five families living in the small Wickliffe portion of our street. He is the real Mayor of Miller and deserves the top job.

Still, I take my duties as his assistant seriously. Whenever there's any sort of disturbance outside, Terry knows I will be at the front window assessing the situation within seconds.

What happened? Is there any need to call the police? Should I go out there to offer assistance? It's my duty as vice mayor to check out anything at all out of the ordinary.

Interestingly, I've found this "mayor of the street" phenomenon to be very much a male thing, mostly limited to guys my age and older.

I don't have a solid explanation for this, though I do have two theories:

(1) Our kids are older and mostly (if not fully) out of the house. We need an outlet for the irrepressible urge to protect others and give wholly unsolicited advice.

(2) We are old and nosy and simply cannot be expected to mind our own business.

I have a sneaking suspicion both are true.

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