As a life-long resident of small towns, I know what it’s like to be a neighbor. To recognize people’s names and cars, and to look out the window every time they pull in. That’s just keeping an eye on the neighborhood. Like any concerned citizen should do. Sure I’ve had music that was too loud or cat(s) who stared too much, but all-in-all, I like to think I’m not terrible at living next door. Even going as far as to wave or sweep off shared sidewalks … or at least not shove my leaves onto your section. On the flip side, however, I’ve also had some disgusting neighbors. Ones that were obnoxious, blocked in my car (or put up cinder blocks so there was only a single exit), or showed up unannounced. With or without baked goods. And ones that think their dogs are only allowed to poo on other people’s lawns.
In terms of neighboring and being a citizen who people don’t hate, I’m fairly certain I have this thing down. Though it’s a stance my current next-door and down-the-street dwellers are calling to question.
- By walking through my yard – and everyone else’s – as if that’s ok now. Call me old fashioned, but it’s polite to stay out of the neighbor’s grass … even if that means tacking on 20 or 70 yards to your trip.
- Or asking folks to move their car. The street is for public parking, right? Who cares if a tiny sedan slightly blocks your usual spot. Maybe if it’s that worrisome, you shouldn’t have moved to a development. Or purchased a diesel extended-cab dually.
- Blocking the alley with your boat. Then mean-mugging when others walk near your garage to get past said blockage. Next time I’ll scale the boat. Or walk through your yard instead, the obvious alternative.
- Mowing other people’s yards. With flashlights. At night. I hate tall, itchy grass as much as the next guy – well, maybe not as much as this guy, who is an overgrown grass vigilante. He, BTW, has yet to attack my yard; we’re keeping that shiz tight – but not enough to fire up my loud gas-guzzler and do a rogue hack job. I’m also not going to trim your hair via electric clippers, in the dark, without asking. Which is probably as equally sneaky.
- Asking for some foil and offering up fish as a trade. Sure I got the better end of the deal, but we’re neighbors; you don’t have to pay me for common, inexpensive kitchen goods. Anyone who grew up with an Easy Bake Oven and a constant lack of eggs knows that.
- Parking backwards. If my guests can’t park legally against the curb, you sure as hell can’t park your car like you’re British. Maybe I’ll start my own vigilante service, but with parking rather than free landscaping. Lurking at night to ensure all vehicles are parallel and perpendicular. Scratch-free, and right-sided. Like the law says they should be. And once cars in my area are squared away, I’ll expand into the outer dwellings, and eventually, the entire town. After all, it seems like the neighborly thing to do.