Practically every day, cars stop in front of our house and people get out to take pictures of it, and of us—me and my wife and daughter—if we happen to be outside. Or they’ll take one of Tony, who cuts half the neighborhood’s grass. Tony loves it. He poses for them, with his rake and lawn bags, grinning, one arm thrown wide as if to say, “All this, my friends.” I’ve told him several times to start charging, but he won’t even hear it. He does it, he says, because it makes him feel famous. Usually it’s only one or two cars. Other times it’s eight or nine in a day. It depends what time of year it is, and what’s happening on the Internet. Once there was an event of some kind in town, and we got more than twenty. I go for long stretches when I forget it’s even happening. I really don’t see them, since I don’t leave the house that much, and they’re always quiet, they never make trouble. But a month ago my new neighbor, Nicholas, who just moved in next door, came over to introduce himself. He’s a tall thin guy in his fifties, glasses and a white beard. Very nice, very sociable. Before he left, he said, “Can I ask you something? Have you noticed that people are always taking pictures of your house?”
“Yeah,” I said—pressing play on my spiel—”it’s silly, I know, but our house used to be on TV, not anymore, those people are fans.… Isn’t that funny?”
“I mean, it is constant,” he said.
“I know!” I said. “Hope it doesn’t bother you. Tell me if it ever gets annoying.”
“No, no, I don’t mind,” he said. “They’re always polite. They almost seem embarrassed.”
“Well, tell me if that changes,” I said.
“Okay,” he said. “I just can’t believe how many there are.”
Nicholas and I have now had some version of that conversation three times, one for each week he’s lived next door. Every time, I’ve wanted to tell him it’s going to end, except I don’t know if it will. It may increase.