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The people who live next door to me have long piqued my curiosity. There are weeks when their house sits totally empty. Then there are weeks when their two teenage children (blended family) live there alone together and go to the local high school. Finally, there are weeks (like this one) when four or five vehicles are parked in the driveway, alongside the curb and across the street, and the house is full of people.

In the evenings I can hear them laughing uproariously (accompanied by the smell of smoke), talking 12 to the dozen, and generally giving off convivial vibes. Our houses are cheek by jowl on one side (the side where my bedroom is), so I can hear fairly clearly. Running the fan and closing the window help muffle the sounds.

Yesterday we engaged in an over-the-fence kind of conversation and I found out the reason for the unusual habitation patterns (omitting the smoke which I can figure for myself).

The owners of the house have occupations in the entertainment industry--filming in various locations around the country, around the world. Wherever they go, they stay with one another or with friends. When their children are out of school they go, too, along with two dogs, one cat and one parrot. What a zoo!

It's a moveable feast of sorts. They are all close friends with each other, about 3 or 4 families (plus one single man). They buy or rent houses (in various locales) with pools, enough bedrooms and enclosed patios to accommodate everyone. At night they swim and watch movies on a gigantic screen in the living room. And talk. And smoke.

Then they're gone, when the filming site changes to somewhere else, and the house is left empty.

Their cat has attached himself to me, and whenever the crowd is in town, he comes over to visit and to wait under the VW in the driveway, or under the rose bush where EG used to wait (and is buried), for me to come home from work and provide pets and ear skritches. We talk. He tells me about his day and I regale him with bits about mine.

Then I go inside....

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