Monday, May 30, 2011

Good Neighbors

I got back from Canada earlier than expected yesterday, and having seen that the sky was ominously gray thought it a good moment to pull out the lawn mower and induce some real rain. The mowing was extra slow going. First, our neighbor to the south stopped by, full of congratulations and advice about the move. It turns out he didn’t know what, if anything, Otto did for a living. Somehow the fact that he worked, and he worked at Microsoft, had never come up in our conversations. It makes me profoundly happy to tell this, because these are our favorite neighbors, and I have always appreciated knowing people who care more for who we are than what work we do.  This neighbor admitted to Googling Otto on his phone and being very distracted with the results.
Next, my neighbor from two doors to the north passed by, with a letter for the mailbox in his hand. He had seen and read the actual article about Otto in print in the newspaper on Wednesday of last week.  We exchanged news of who is graduating this spring, and how many  graduation ceremonies we will be attending. This neighbor is a retired college English professor; many teachers of all levels spend one day each June sitting in a nylon robe and a silly hat for several hours, listening to the drone of Elgar’s graduation march “Pomp and Circumstance.”

We agreed that graduation ceremonies for elementary school children are strange and unnecessary, and that high school graduation is more of an expectation than an achievement.  Reader, no matter how wonderful your children are, their graduation ceremonies are boring.
My third neighbor to visit came from the house to our immediate north. She had learned our news chatting with her older son on the phone. While her son read it in the paper, our neighbor told me she looked Otto up on Google.  We ended up having a good long chat out on the front lawn. By the time I actually was able to squeeze the handle of my electric lawnmower, I was enthusiastic about cutting the grass.
You might find it interesting to know that the last division of Microsoft Otto worked in was Bing.

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