I am 37 years old and have lived in 12 different houses and apartments. I have met, and moved away from, many different neighbors. And, I’ve had my fair share of bad ones.
When I was little, there was Ursula. She lived alone with her thick German accent and her very scary dogs. Dogs who may as well have been trained by Hitler himself. God forbid if they didn’t heel when she told them to.
I didn’t try to sell Ursula any Girl Scout cookies, and I didn’t even bother collecting paper route money. You just didn’t approach that house. Das war verboten!
In college, I had neighbors who made my apartment building smell like Thai food and feet. The odors that wafted under the hallway doors were bad enough that I trained myself to hold my breath from the parking lot to my unit on the second floor. The year I had to carry my bike up the steps was quite a challenge.
Shortly after that, I had my first experience with rotten neighborhood kids. Kids who threw eggs at my house and who put dog poop on my front porch. I’m not going to get into details, but just know that I got them back.
My husband and I have lived in our current home for over 10 years, and we have a great group of folks living around us. But, for the past eight months we’ve been feuding with our next door neighbor. Well, not so much feuding as not talking at all.
Before the silent treatment began, this was the same lady who would stop you on your way to the car, or in the middle of cutting grass, to give you a dissertation on her family life. These were not stories about her or her husband, but rather about her children, her grandchildren, her grandchildren’s barber, the barber’s sister, and the barber’s sister’s attorney’s son’s teacher’s uncle. Literally. She is a gossip to the nth degree…and if you’re going to gossip, could you at least make it about people I know?
So this not talking thing? It’s really not so bad.
Forget casseroles and picking up newspapers when we’re out of town. Turns out that her granddaughter wrecking into our car was the most neighborly thing anyone has ever done for us.