Wednesday, May 02, 2007

On being neighborly

I picked a fight with my neighbor last summer. Believe me when I tell you I didn't want to embroil myself in this battle - I am happy to get along, live and let live. (See also: I AM TOLERANT.)

This is the problem.

Let me back up here and explain. The guys next door are young men, in their 20s I'd guess. We don't hang out, but they do the polite wave thing when they pass me. When a chunk of tree fell from their property and took out part of our fence, they apologized to me, and then Greg and promptly fixed it. That very day.

They also throw a wingding or two during the summer.

Greg and I have lived with roommates, suite mates and spent plenty of years in apartments. Parties really don't freak us out; no blood, no trouble, no problem. We are sheltered by trees and some distance, so they don't even wake us up.

I roll out of bed the next day, oblivious, until the my beleaguered neighbor, the one that can hear everything tells me her troubles. That's not exactly true either. She berates me for not calling the police.

I have explained, verbally and in emails that I will call the police if we hear anything. Or if they do something else that warrants calling the police. But I think that law enforcement has bigger fish to fry and I don't plan on complaining if their radio is on during dinnertime. (Once again, can't hear it unless I am standing in my driveway.) Or if they park more than 6" from the curb. I, in fact, have bigger fish to fry too - like raising kids and burning a hole in my thighs, caressing my laptop.

This lack of action infuriates my other neighbor. I know she is frustrated and in her frustration, she is angry. My guess is she thinks I am weak and worse, lying about not hearing the deafening party noise. I can't convince her; she thinks I just don't care or won't do my part. So, instead of being rattled by the noisy partiers, I dread six months of dealing with someone who is trying to make me do things I just won't do or can't do. (I AM ALSO STUBBORN.) It's six months of the message being relayed to my 3rd grader. It's six months of knocking on my door. It's six months I need to plan for.

I have tried that detached counselor mode.

'Oh, that must be so troubling for you. I hope it is a better summer.'

'Gee, we are lucky because the trees really filter out the noise. It's hard to believe we slept through all the commotion. It must have been that bottle of tequila. ha, ha....ha?'

'No other neighbors called either? Maybe they didn't... Maybe they were slee...'

When what I want to say is:

'Get over it. Move to the country. Take some meds. Talk to the fellas directly, the ones that are causing you grief. Leave me alone. Chill out. Find a hobby. GROW UP.'

I have stayed diplomatic and calm to avoid conflict. Now it seems trying to stay out of it has brought the conflict straight to my door.

I need a winning strategy.

{Can't we just get along?}

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SusieJ said...

Oh man. A tough one. Can't they just get a fan to drown out the noise? I hate to point the finger at someone -- because I'm sure they could find something, that I'm totally unaware of, that I do that irritates them.
By the way, you've been tagged. Open up your purse!

stephanie said...

Tell her you did call the police and they are keeping an eye on the boys. Surveillance, top secret stuff. Heehee.