It's also like being back in middle school.
For many of Duck Pond Landing's residents, nothing is too trivial to become a BIG issue. Clubhouse tables not placed exactly X-number of tiles from the windows or the organ being unplugged may incite loud, snarky comments. A proposed hike in homeowner dues – from $20 to $25 – warranted multiple meetings and a re-vote after the hike had been approved. (It passed.) Some residents who choose not to participate in certain neighborhood functions snipe about those who do attend if they bring along guests. And when a newsworthy event happens, such as someone being carted off to the hospital, it seems everyone is an authority on what really happened; it’s almost a competition for the title of One-Who-Knows.
In schools there are groups: student council, sports teams, booster clubs, interest clubs. DPL boasts its own array of groups. Leader personalities step up to positions on the board and organize activities. Sports (yes, I use the term very loosely) include golf, shuffleboard, darts, Bingo, and corn hole. Boosters enthusiastically gather for cards and lunch trips to local restaurants. Interest-based friendships may stem from being at the same place in life at the same time (caring for an invalid partner or suddenly becoming single,) or sharing outside passions (classic cars and Red Sox, anyone?) There’s a senior version of Mean Girls; it’s not gender-specific, but the group’s primary focus seems to be snooping in everyone’s business, spreading misinformation, and complaining about…well, anything. We even have bullying and brawls! Just last month three police cars responded to an emergency call regarding two octogenarians in a fist fight that resulted in one being cold-cocked. (The drama between those two has been entertaining their neighbors for months.)
Happily, our little community also boasts the upside to those school days: celebrations! Two couples pool their resources and talents each year to provide a traditional Thanksgiving dinner open to all residents who have no nearby family. Another hosts an annual New Year's Eve party (which starts late so everyone can nap first.) There's a holiday golf cart parade followed by (very off-key) caroling, a pajama party for the gals (complete with a few old geezers who want to crash it,) OctoberFest (always in November,) special occasion breakfasts, potluck suppers, ice cream socials, and the annual big event: The Follies. Individual idiosyncrasies are less of an issue when we gather together simply to have a good time.
Reliving my adolescent years is totally unappealing, but, in a sense, I am. My "classmates" are older, more concerned with aches and pains than zits, but the basic group dynamics are the same. News flash for 12-year-olds: your school days may never be over.