Sometimes a pineapple is just a pineapple

Abacaxi, piña, pineappleThe new neighbors may be swingers.

Or not. I should just shut up. It’s not that I’ve noticed any weird goings on at their house since they moved in. They look nice enough, and I’ve been meaning to go over with a pan of brownies. But it’s too cold to walk across the street. And I don’t bake brownies. Or pretty much anything.

Still, I’ve been thinking I should be neighborly. I thought the opportunity might present itself sometime when they were getting into their car at the same time I was getting into mine, or something. I could yell “hey there!”

Really put myself out there.

It works. Kind of. Over the course of our almost twelve years in this house, that’s how we’ve come to know more than a few people on our street – empty-nesters and retirees mostly. There are a few families with kids. Then there’s some douche who likes to throw dirt clods at our garage. I’ve never caught this guy, but I occasionally have to wash my garage door.

Mostly, I’m fine with our neighbors. Many of them wave when I holler, and if they don’t like that our Christmas lights stay up until Easter, they keep it to themselves. The woman who used to live in our new neighbor’s house didn’t care for my yard work ethic, but her grandson was the lawn boy for a bunch of our neighbors, and he was bow-chica-wow-WOW, so it’s no wonder I couldn’t get anything done around here.

All in all, though, it’s a pretty nice ‘hood.

But sometimes the fact that we’re the young-uns around here is depressing. We used to live on a hopping cul-de-sac with a bunch of crazy people who threw great parties right in the middle of the street. The people next door were some of our best friends. Our dog pooped in their yard, and they shoveled the poop back over our way with smiles on their faces. We took in each other’s papers and mail during vacations. We took our kids trick-or-drinking together on Halloween. We toasted the New Year together, as well as Independence Day and whatever else we felt like toasting.

Our hangover cycles were synced.

We don’t have that kind of camaraderie here. No drinking parties in the street. No quiet waves hello the next morning when we collect the paper with the shared understanding that any spoken word would only serve to exacerbate explosive headaches.

I took notice that the people moving in across the street were young-ish and without children, and I was excited to find an invitation on my stoop – a ladies meet-and-greet scheduled for this Saturday morning at their house.

A little friendly outreach, tinged with just a hint of confusion.

Because of the ginormous pineapple drawing on the invitation.

See, urban legend has it that the next neighborhood over from us is big with the swingers. And, supposedly, if someone’s in a swinging mood, they put a pineapple on their stoop.

I don’t know if this means if one pops on by, you’re supposed to bring snacks or just your libido or what. I’m not up on the swinging etiquette.

And what happens if you, the pineapple displayer, open the door and there are a couple Jehovah’s Witnesses standing there with their end-of-the-world literature? I mean, sure a little boinkety might cheer them up, but then again, it could be super awkward if that’s not what they were expecting.

I’m sure the swinging crowd has some parameters around this. I just don’t know.

I’m glad I had my mom in the car yesterday while I was pondering the swinging thing. I shared the story about the invite, and my confusion.

“Well, in Colonial America, pineapples were symbols for hospitality,” mom said.

That’s mom’s thing, revolution-era history. She can tell you when Christmas trees became popular or when Monticello was built. Stuff that will win you a round of Jeopardy or Trivial Pursuit.

Well, seriously, hospitality could mean different things to different people. I mean, history could be full of euphemisms we totally don’t even understand these days.

Paul Revere could have been warning about the British coming, or he very well could have been making plans for the weekend. Mrs. Revere could have been into some seriously kinky stuff. The whole ‘one if by land, two if by sea,’ could be twisted any number of ways.

Mom laughed about this, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she agrees with me about Paul and the missus. She told me about a friend of hers who says her neighbors hang stars on their houses as invitations for swingers.

Well, crap, there could be any number of things on my house that could be putting out the wrong message. Our burnt-out porch light, maybe. We’ve had a big red cooler sitting right by the front door since Christmas and I swear I’ve noticed an uptick in the amount of foot traffic since then. What does a big red cooler mean in deviant neighborhood sex-terms?

Of course, if neither urban legend nor history is always clear, neither is the internet, which tells me there is no universal sign for swingers. Although the pineapple is pretty popular for more than just our kinky adjacent neighborhood.

So, what this all means is that I’m jumping to conclusions and I had really very little to tell you about for today’s blog.

And it’s why I’m going to bake some brownies and head across the street Saturday morning. If she’s really cool, I’ll tell her about the pineapple thing. And warn her that our Christmas lights stay up until Easter.

And nobody should read anything into that. Except that we’re lazy.


Photo by Victoria Rachitzky Hoch

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  1. My guess is the pineapple represents hospitality in this case. But reading this gives me a whole new perspective on the pineapple wallpaper my parents used to have in their kitchen. Ha. And when we first moved into our neighborhood, all young couples and young families. Impromptu parties and dancing in the street gave way to being too busy raising families, people moving out, divorces, older couples moving in. It\’s a lot different now.

  2. Saturday morning seems like it would be an odd time for swinging. I\’m going with hospitality as well.

    When our daughter was young we lived in a townhouse in a neighborhood that was 99% senior citizens (us being the last percent). When we took her trick or treating, she was essentially the only kid to visit all night. The seniors were SO excited to see her and she got massive amounts of candy. And the neighborhood was REALLY quiet. Win Win.

  3. Thanks for the laugh 🙂 I wish the hubs and I had cool neighbors who love to toast to every holiday. I had no idea swingers used props on their front stoop as a message. I always have grocery bags of poopy diapers next to my front door, I wonder what message I am sending…

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! I shudder to think of the folks who think the poopy diaper bags might signify something, besides the fact that there\’s a baby in the house…

  4. I have not heard mention of swingers in so long, I didn\’t know people did that in this generation. Now you\’ve made me realize I just don\’t hear about them because I\’m too old.

    The idea of swingers and their \”invitations\” partly grosses me out, yet partly makes me think about how much fun I have missed out on by being a prudish \”good girl!\”

  5. ha this made me laugh out loud and totally relate!! We moved from a neighborhood in Kansas City to a condo in Miami and talk about a shift in neighbors. There wasn\’t so much of the neighborly borrow a cup of sugar as the wear your ear plugs and just let them party without complaining.

  6. This is probably the funniest thing I\’ve read this week (and I spend a LOT of time online so that\’s sayin something.) I always envy other writers who can make an awesome story out of their everyday lives because mine is so damn boring 99% of the time. I guess I just need to move to a different neighborhood where people might mistake my busted porch light as an invitation to make things interesting (ours has been broken since we moved here and not one single innuendo thrown our way!) It\’s probably what\’s best for my readers.