Oh, The People in My Neighborhood

I see neighbors

I see neighbors. And I hear them, too.

I hear about people who are friends with their neighbors. I hear about fun block parties and kids who all play in the cul-de-sac street together. I hear about neighborhood kids who grow up together as best friends and the few who actually end up marrying the girl-next-door. I hear about moms who can easily drop their kid(s) off with a neighbor for an hour to run an errand or the dads who borrow a lawnmower. And the neighbor is more than happy to return the favor. Anytime!

Who are these people and where do they live?

I don’t even know the names of my neighbors. I probably wouldn’t even ask my neighbors for a cup of sugar, let alone ask for an hour of babysitting. That’s just not how it works on my block.

After living the apartment lifestyle for more than a decade, I was used to not having many, if any, interactions with my neighbors. The only time I would see a neighbor was in the elevator on my ride up to the 11th floor. The occasional nod of the head, hurried hello, or mention of the weather was our only form of communication. And, if there was a problem with a neighbor, well that’s what the homeowners association and yahoo groups forum was for. Complain to them! I guess you can call it passive-aggressive neighboring.

So when we bought our first house and moved to the ‘burbs exactly one year ago, I expected to be greeted by a few *real* housewives, families with kids the same age as my kid, perhaps some cool couples who were the same age as us, and at least a few friendly people who would welcome us into the neighborhood with a homemade pie and an invite to a BBQ.

Instead, I got the nosy neighbors that like to peek over our fences (hello, I see you!), strange neighbors that keep a huge pile of dirt on their driveway (did they just bury someone?), yipping dogs that bark at me through my fence every time I’m in the backyard (you’re worse than a cat!), an elderly man who*joked* about running me over as I walked with my son in his stroller (haha…good one, asshole), and a few very loud teenagers who enjoy late-night parties almost as much as they enjoy revving their car engines at 6am on a Saturday morning (yes, you little twits, that was me who called the police and then knocked on your door early the next morning to talk to your mother).

Welcome to the neighborhood, indeed.

The moral of the story is: just like your family, you can’t choose your neighbors. We sometimes just have to learn how to deal with them. Or not.

I’m still learning.