I’ve had my share of neighbor issues while renting. But I’m telling you (that’s you, the collective you, by the way), house owning neighbors are a whole other species. First, it’s not like you can just call the landlord to deal with it. There is no landlord. If you decided to call the “authorities”, then you have to live with that post-issue awkwardness while you attempt to blame another neighbor on your rat-titude. In renting world, as a last-ditch resort you can up and move, which is what we did in one situation. I bought a house though, and I have no intention of up and moving until many many years from now when I own a house in the Outer Banks and I can be a professional beach bum for the rest of my life. It’s a fine line to walk around neighbors. I have no intention of making enemies or getting involved into some Jerry Springer-esque battles of classlessness.
One of my neighbors is an 80something year old woman who has more energy and fire than most people I know who aren’t even close to their 80s. She takes great pride in her home and is understandably protective of it. She’s given me the “gossip” on the other neighbors, but the one that stuck out involved some kids that used to live in our house and ended up taking a hammer to her drive-way. So, again quite understandably, she gets on edge when she sees these kids having the run of the neighborhood. When I approached my home this evening, I saw the kids swarming the cul-de-sac and my neighbor outside in her driveway. I barely got out of the car when she said she needed to talk to me. Also, unrelated, but she thinks my name is “Chrissy” and it’s been over a month so I cannot possibly correct her now, so for all intents and purposes with her, my name is Chrissy. She was very worked up about the kids and said she thought they were throwing rocks at her car and were playing in my driveway. Meanwhile, the kids are saying stuff like “We used to have to live next to her” in absolute disdain. As if this wasn’t enough, another neighbor across the street decided to come out – shirtless, natch – and try to start shit with the 80 year old woman!
In the past, when I see people being assholes, I call them out for being assholes. 90% of the time, there is no excuse for it. Assholes without a cause, if you will. This time, however, I’m playing with neighbor politics. I can’t tell the guy that he’s such a BIG MAN for harassing an 80 year old woman and “by the way, do you own any shirts?” (as so far, he only makes appearances shirtless) because then I’m in the midst of drama. I’d have to see him on a daily basis and say “Yup, I’m the one that infringed on your right to bare your man boobs.” I’m all for awkward, but that’s not a fun awkward. Luckily, the husband came out and escorted me inside the house so we could do the brave thing and run away from the situation. So brave.
Since I can’t tell him to his face, I’ll say it here. Buddy, you’re supposed to set an example for your kids. Starting shit with an old woman who merely wants her property – which she’s worked hard for and lived for decades longer than you – is pathetic. Instead, direct that manly rage by jogging. Or learning how to sew a shirt. It is your job as a parent to see to it that your kids don’t become raging assholes. This is not an old woman who hates kids. In fact, she likes mine because they’re not assholes. They know to respect other people and their property. Your kids standing there spewing insults is a direct result of your behavior and your inability to be a parent. Look, I’m all for kids being able to play in the neighborhood, but that does not entail running around in other people’s yards.
Sigh. I may buy a Swiss flag to hang outside just so people leave me out of their bullshit.