Friday, May 25, 2012

The Real Housewives of East Oreland

Real Housewives of East Oreland at my Book Signing
“The neighbors gossip about me at the bus stop, I’m sure. They say my yard is full of dandelions. I say they’re jealous. The weeds clearly mean I am MUCH TOO BUSY DOING IMPORTANT THINGS to tend to them. The world is my oyster, and I close my eyes and pinch my nose and slurp it down!”

(cue cheesy music)

I am, I confess, a reality TV show buff. Not just any shows, though. I favor those that veer off the path of all common sense into the never-never land of the very rich and dramatic.  The “housewives” of Orange County, California; DC; New York City—these pampered and ridiculous dames are endlessly entertaining to me. I escape into an alternate universe of weekly mani-pedis and British nannies and charity balls.

But I wonder. Would my neighborhood yield at least as much interest and excitement, if looked at the right way? If we were all dolled up and filmed with only the most flattering camera angles, would we be every bit as telegenic and compelling as Bethenny and Jill?

Speaking for myself, I can’t remember my last catfight, or my last gala wearing a sequined minidress. But there may be others out there? Or maybe not.

OK then, how about good old East Oreland—a hotbed of intrigue? Let’s see.

We have a neighborhood association, EONA, with monthly meetings and occasional parties. My first few years in East Oreland, when folks talked about “EONA,” I thought Eona was the name of a beloved older lady in the area. Now I am “in the know.” Fascinating secret society—check!!

We have a community center and playground, now facing the bulldozer. The E.P.I. center, where seniors long gathered for fun and games, our local polling place on Election Day, was once an elementary school. Now the center is falling apart (last year, a family of raccoons took up residence and we had to go vote elsewhere).  Debate over the future of this building and parcel of land has been lively. Contentious meetings with colorful township characters—check!!

When I was a young mom, we had a babysitting co-op. Members watched one another’s children for points, which could be redeemed for valuable cash prizes. Just kidding. The points accrued in anticipation of the member’s future babysitting needs, that’s all. The co-op was a prime place for us to rate our parenting skills against our neighbors’.  Did Mom “A” really let her toddler eat fruit rollups for lunch? Should I be worried that Mom “B”’s baby was toilet trained at 8 months? Mrs. East Oreland competition—check!!

Darn. Not quite exciting enough.

I am sure there must be SOME sensational stories located in the area of Belmont Ave. and Mill Rd; I just haven’t encountered them yet.  Meanwhile, I stroll through my neighborhood and envision a top-rated new reality show lurking behind closed doors. It’s kinda fun.

                    We are the Real Housewives of East Oreland. Mr. De Mille, we’re ready for our closeup!

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