As I've mentioned before, we live in the Northside neighborhood of Manchester on a fairly quiet block. Our neighbors are a mix of races, socio-economic classes and family compositions. It is the kind of neighborhood where people nod and wave, occasionally exchange a few words and pretty much mind their own business (especially when business involves breeding fighting dogs and dealing drugs – sigh).
But tonight was a little different. Ledcat came into the house and mentioned that she had smelled gas in front of our neighbor's house. I grabbed my phones and went out to check, dialing our other neighbor to come triple check us. You see, said neighbor had told me she was having work done on her furnace and using space heaters. After sniffing the air and, yes, sticking my nose into her mail slot for a whiff, I called 911 and we banged on the door. No answer. The firemen showed up and we began asking neighbors if they had her phone number.
Everyone acknowledged that gas was in the air. I kept saying she might be in the house. While we waited for the gas company, neighbors tracked down the neighbors friends and I went into our house to bang on the wall to get her attention.
She was fine. There was no sign of gas in her house. The gas company has spent a long night scouring the neighborhood for the source to no avail, but it came from somewhere. That's a little troubling but hopefully you won't be reading this from some link written about the demise of another Pgh blog due to explosion.
The outcome? People came out to check on each other. Phone numbers were exchanged. My wrist is very sore from all that banging. I discovered a neighbor used his gift card to Hoi Polloi that we gave to him. I learned that we have two kids (Shaq and Larry) who bear an uncanny resemblance to one another and have resolved themselves to answering to both names. Our fire crew from North Avenue are great guys who stopped to wipe their feet. My chihuaha is afraid of firemen. My neighbor got a good deal on his new truck. Another neighbor is renovating an empty house she bought. A third mentioned she has keys to a few houses.
We may not be Mayberry, but we have our own way of coping with potential crisis. In spite of all the uproar and ruckus, everyone agreed that calling 911 was the best way to go. No one complained about the fuss.
I was really glad to see my neighbor stick her head out the door. Best sight I've seen all night.
Suddenly, a dinner of bland leftovers and a load of dishes seem charmingly appealing.
Just for the final homophobic touch, one neighbor was trying to sort out who lived where and when she realized that Ledcat and I lived together and were not married to our neighbor Tim, she was visibly taken aback “You two ladies live together .. .here?” she said. That was kind of funny. Kind of.