You'd think that if your neighbor did yard work in a bikini, a visor, and a fanny pack, you'd almost have to like them. But if that same neighbor locks her crying dog out all night, tortures chickens through a full winter as a "project" for her uninterested son, and puts down steel jaw traps to catch groundhogs, the silly outfit isn't nearly enough to win you back.
When you argue with her about the animals, or just beg her to let you humanely trap the groundhogs (and relocate them), and she ends the conversation by screaming insane homophobic slurs at you, it makes you not be able to enjoy the fact of her smoking by her green-black pool wearing socks and high heels.
The fence Xena put up because she's afraid of animals traps a baby deer in, and it's heartbreaking watching their futile attempts to escape.
She blasts Julio Iglesias and pretends to be interested in gardening, and you use giving her seeds as an excuse to discuss the groundhogs again. She says she is growing food for "the church kids." You wish you could pretend to like her. All the other neighbors gossip about her, make up conspiracy theories about her mailbox with the fake address on it. They start to call her "Xena" too, because of her outfits.
Occasionally there are kids hanging around. Teens, I should say. They act bored, like they don't know what they're doing there. They're not gardening. They're not eating food from the garden, because the garden's been forgotten, like the pool, like the dog. They're sometimes waiting while their mothers and grandmothers get their hair frosted in Xena's basement. It's frustrating because you usually find some common ground with hairdressers.
Xena drives by your house super slowly and stares and stares, on her way to her fake mailbox to get her mail.
The census person comes to your house and asks you how to find this address that doesn't exist. She likes the neighborhood, except for its proximity to the prison. You wake up another morning to the dog crying and Xena shouting. You wonder how you've become friends with all your neighbors but one.
And then. Two of the kids, boys, fourteen-ish, are making out on her trampoline, in the sun. For the whole neighborhood to see.
Tangible pleasure. Even later, when the kissing is over and the trampoline dancing has begun, you can't stop smiling.