A few nights ago, we stepped outside our house for our nightly walk, and there was a dog loose in our driveway. He ran over to a guy on the sidewalk a house or two away, and Sarah said, “Oh, he’s not loose, he’s with his owner.” The guy looked at us angrily and said, “He’s not mine; I’m just being a good neighbor.” I said, “I think he lives up the street.”
The guy said, “I own this house here. Don’t talk to me like you do those guys.” Then he pointed to the house between ours and walked off with the dog.
Is it just us, or are the people we see on the street this week insane?
Now, I realize that we’re not considered “good neighbors” because we don’t go out of our way to meet them, generally because the neighborhoods we live in are peopled by residents with infants or kids in college, so we don’t really have much in common. And not a one of them has ever been in the same line of work (writing, computers, rocket science, etc.). I know for a fact that our neighbors in Charlotte, NC, got upset because we never invited them to our Mensa parties (well, none of them were Mensans, so….).
But, to be fair, only one of our neighbors actually introduced themselves to us. And we’re friendly with them as a result. The other neighbors ignored us from day one. And we ignore them. (Actually, we like to keep to ourselves; that’s why we moved to an urban neighborhood.)
At least, we ignore them when we can. The other neighbors the crazy guy referenced crossed the line, so that I couldn’t ignore them.
Shortly after we moved in, I kept finding different cars parked so that they blocked part of my driveway. Usually about 5-6 feet, enough to prevent me from getting my car out of the garage and go to work on time. No idea who these people were. I left notes on their windshields asking them not to block my driveway, but the notes were ignored. So, I started putting the notes on copies of the traffic laws (printed off the web, with the $50 fine highlighted), and copying their license plates on it as well, so they knew I was paying attention.
Still no response. Eventually, I ended up having to call the police a few times, once on Christmas Eve, since the car was preventing us from going to church!
STILL blocked my driveway. Then one day I went out to the car, and there was a pizza delivery car completely blocking my driveway. I walked over to the car (engine running and driver’s door open), and just stared inside. The driver yelled out, “Can I help you?” and I countered with, “Can I help you? You’re blocking my driveway.”
This launched the two women living next door into attack mode and the three of them argued with me for a good half hour. Their best argument was, incredibly, that I should have come and asked them to move their car. I pointed out several times, to no avail, that I would have been happy to do so if at any time one of them had had the courtesy to let me know who was blocking my driveway, as my notes had been ignored, and I’d never actually seen the drivers at any time, but apparently logic was not their strong suit. The two neighbors kept repeating, “But we live right here. Why didn’t you just come over?”
Um, because I don’t have access to police records, so I can’t run their plates to figure out where they live?
See, we live a few blocks from a college, with students living nearby who have frequent and varied visitors. It simply doesn’t follow that a car parked outside our house belongs to someone living on the street. Again, that pesky logic.
Besides, even if the owner did live on the street, how is it the victim’s obligation to figure out who the law-breaker is? Especially when said law-breaker has been given ample opportunity to make his identity known?
So, back to the new crazy neighbor. Even with the pizza argument in mind, what could he possibly mean by, “Don’t talk to me like you do them,” as a response to, “I think the dog lives up the street?”
And they wonder why we don’t seek out their acquaintance.