Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Party House

Quadroplexes. It's a word I had never heard until I moved to Columbia. I live in a community of homes which are four houses stuck together, dotted across the rolling suburban terrain in that peculiar Columbia way. I've heard that Rouse wanted the natural topography of the land to be left untouched as much as possible. For us this means some great sledding hills and some terrible runoff issues every time it rains.

But I digress.

Each little house has its own fenced-in patio. Some have small yards, some none at all more than a tiny flower bed out front. It just depends on how the building is situated. The grassy areas all around are common area. I'd love to see them used more and enjoyed more, but usually they're just green, well-mowed, and empty.

The house at the top of the hill, on the corner, is a bit different from the rest. Long ago an owner removed the fencing around the patio so their back yard opens up into the common space. Something about that layout has made that particular home the best one in the neighborhood for outdoor entertaining. When my daughter was little she dubbed it "the party house."

It has never been a problem. It's just something interesting about my quirky little neighborhood. Well, maybe it was a problem to my daughter, who wondered why we could see people having cook-outs and having fun but we never got to join them, Because, while we know all the people in our immediate vicinity, we don't know anyone "at the top of the hill." You'd think it was in a different time zone or something. Silly, when you think about it. But our paths never cross. Maybe they park in the other parking lot on the other side of the neighborhood.

Sounds lame, doesn't it?

Well, last night, when we got home from visiting a friend, the Party House was kicking it up a notch with the biggest outdoor party this neighborhood has seen in the last 15 years, complete with amplified music. It was loud. It was loud enough that we could still hear it when we went inside the house, but not painfully so. We have decent windows that muffle a lot of outdoor sound, plus the intermittent blowing of the AC provided a filter.

It was a little annoying. But it wrapped up at a decent hour and didn't interfere with anyone here getting to sleep. It was one loud party in a neighborhood that doesn't have enough parties. I'd love to get a bunch of acoustic guitars out on the grassy areas outside our house for a jam session, or see a neighborhood-wide water balloon battle for kids out back.

This morning I could be complaining, and most people would think I was completely justified. But I'm not. It was the first big cookout of summer. Maybe it was a graduation party. Who knows? It was a temporary inconvenience for us but it also was a sign of life.

People live here, celebrate here. That's a good thing.




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