Today I read a Facebook status of an ole high school friend. It was something along the lines of being grateful that she has wonderful neighbors. This got me thinking about my own neighbors whom I’ve had the displeasure to endure for several years. I started writing a comment, which turned into an epic rant, and so I decided rather than clutter her beautiful status with my obvious discourse, I would instead create this post on my blog.
Many years ago, when our neighbors moved in, there was the occasional chitchat across our respective lawns when leaving for work, arriving home from work, and checking the mail. That all changed when we put up our privacy fence.
The privacy fence is a required structure by the City of Tallahassee for any resident owner of a pool. Of course, we are law-abiding citizens and since we were having a pool installed, we erected the 6-foot standard privacy fence. That’s when things turned ugly.
It was as if the neighbors felt jaded, the privacy fence being our statement of drawing boundaries. Why does this happen? I don’t know, but it does. It doesn’t matter. Now we experience the full onslaught of Boundary Wars. I should pitch a reality show on this one.
First, there was the surveyor. I guess they wanted to ensure we hadn’t erected a portion of the fence on their property. We acknowledge and shrug it off. However, that wasn’t enough for them. A conciliatory nod and we figure things will be fine. Nope.
The next thing we realize, our neighbors are mowing their lawn twice as often as they used to, almost three times per week. The husband, like clockwork, moves back and forth across their lawn, a look of disdain upon his face, laboriously pushing the mower in order to get a quarter inch trim on their grass. One thing I notice is the caution he takes when pushing the mower down the property line, which separates our lawn from theirs.
How peculiar! Why were they so worried about getting it perfectly cut, right on the property line? After all, there was no fence in the front. We decide it’s just a quirk and when our grass is ready to mow, we mow our lawn up to the point where they distinctly, and with much effort, marked their property. It gets worse.
At some point, Tim was rolling up our garden hose and when it got a kink in it, he yanked and twirled it and about two feet of the hose plopped over onto our neighbor's lawn. You'd have thought we cast a spell of fireball explosion on their property from the looks on their faces.
A week later, we arrived home from work and the crew chief for the group we hired to rebuild our back deck approached my husband and profusely apologized for having stepped in our neighbor’s yard. After he explained the frenzy with which the female of the house, our illustrious neighbor, spiraled into when he’d attempted to carry a load of 2 x 4s into our backyard, I realized we were dealing with more than just bruised egos here.
The crew chief explained that an hour later she came out with sandwiches and iced tea for all of them and apologized for her outburst. She used this poor guy as a sounding board and went on about how me and my husband are inconsiderate, evil beings. This woman is badmouthing us to the people we hired to work on our home. WTF??!
Similar incidents have happened since, with the man we hired to paint our home, and with the lawn maintenance guy who parks his equipment trailer on the curbside. The best way to deal with this issue is to ignore our neighbors and their behavior.
They’re not hurting us, but it’s so obvious they are in some sort of distress about boundaries. I don’t want to approach either one because I believe it would only make things worse. Instead, I just tell people who visit us that our neighbors are a bit finicky about their lawn so please steer clear!
This picture tells me they are still hung up on boundaries. You can’t make this stuff up. This is why I write fiction. Because therein lies the truth!
What quirkiness do you deal with in your daily life? I'd love to hear from you. It would make me feel better about this dilemma.