To my next-door neighbor:

File photo.

Hi. We’ve never met, and I’m guessing we’re not going to, seeing as how I’m choosing to communicate with you in a very passive-aggressive manner via my blog–and since I’ve chosen not to wallpaper my neighborhood with 8″x10″ glossies of my face and book cover, you probably don’t know who I am. It’s okay. I’m fine with that.

But here’s the thing: I don’t like you.

Look, I understand that the grass you just mowed needs to be blown off the sidewalk with–I’m guessing by the amount of noise it makes–a jet engine. It’s grass; it’s heavy.

I get that we had a couple of thunderstorms earlier this week, and that your basement may have flooded and it needs to be pumped out. With–again, just a guess–a jet engine. And one of those fancy ones that only operates at an hour at which I am still sleeping.

I also understand that it must be difficult to be the owner of a deaf dog. I assume that it’s deaf, since otherwise you wouldn’t need to  shout its name over and over–also at a frightfully early hour, and also directly into my bedroom window–despite the fact that it’s running around in a yard that is only about ten square feet and fenced in. I mean, we don’t want the dog to forget its name, which is Arya. Arya. Arya! Arya! Arya! Arya!

And hey: trees suck, am I right? Always growing and shit? Just selfishly stretching their branches out into the air, blocking all those beautiful views of your neighbors’ fascinating roof shingles? Dude, it is beyond reasonable to want to cut all of every one of those branches down. For six hours straight. With an entire Home Depot’s worth of chainsaws and wood chippers. Suck it, trees! We don’t want your stinkin’ oxygen! Go beautify our environment somewhere else!

All in all, I’ve really enjoyed the symphony of noise pollution coming from your house. It’s kept me on my toes, wondering what fresh hell  you’re going to serenade me with today. It’s not like I work from home and am one of those writers who needs quiet to concentrate. Why, just the mere thought of your tree removal guys revving up that chainsaw again brings tears of delight to my eyes. Well, delight or blistering rage–two sides of the same coin, am I right? And sure, I could easily go to the library or a cafe or literally anywhere else other than your little Yard of Clamor, but I am clearly not very interested in acting in a reasonable manner. Case in point: I am blogging.

Don’t worry–I’m not going to confront you. Or interact with you in any way. Oh, I will joke with my husband about yelling “Arya! Arya! Arya!” out the window while you’re doing the exact same thing so your deaf dog doesn’t know which way to run, or maybe even throw in a Game of Thrones joke and inform her that winter is coming. Come next year, when the leaf blower ban for our town goes into effect, I may consider calling the police on you, but we all know that when I pick up the phone I’m just going to end up ordering pizza. And I might, just might, sit and stew on my couch for a while and try to screw up the courage to march right over there and DEMAND TO KNOW HOW MUCH LONGER THE CHAINSAWS WILL BE BLARING and then POLITELY NOD MY HEAD AND APOLOGIZE FOR INTERRUPTING. I may even THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME.

So listen: we’re good. You continue to loudly declare to the world that you exist, and I will continue to sit here and lose my mind while you do so. It’s a fine arrangement, one that may possibly result in the slow and steady dissolution of my writing career, but will definitely not result in anyone going to jail for murder and/or dog murder. So rest easy, neighbor.

But just be aware: the next poop you scoop out of your yard may not be from Arya.

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17 comments

  1. What is it with Ginas, neighbors and trees? Similar problem, minus the deaf dog. Did you know playing Lady Gaga loudly whenever you leave the house will discourage break-ins?

  2. OH MY GOD This made me laugh out loud. At first I thought you were talking about MY neighbors. We used to have not one but THREE problem neighbors, but one of the three apparently jumped ship and abandoned their home or something. Now we have two:

    1) Mrs. Peeping Tom sittin’ on the front porch in her mumu and her Little Boy Boom-Boom (you know, the kid who sits in his car (or washes it every other day) while blasting the “boom-boom” music on the radio. He gets that from his daddy, who recently left the family, apparently, because he’s been MIA for a couple months now. Plus, they let their pit bull run around without a leash. That lady is ALWAYS sitting there, smoking and staring… She lives across the street.

    2) Mr. Hoarder/Meth Maker/The Reason We Have a Gun living next door. Oh yes, he runs his lawn mowers (that’s PLURAL, he “collects” them) at 11pm (at which time we fearfully ask him to stop because we have a four year old who is sleeping -oh and so were we!- and we pray that he won’t kill us for asking). We had to call code enforcement on him last year b/c of his junk and because of the fact that he was illegally working on his roof for over two years, which was a safety hazard as he used old tarp and cement blocks to cover it up. The city then made him clear his front AND back yard and they took him to court for the roof (which is STILL not a real roof). Oh yeah, I’m sure that guy will go postal on us any day now. Either that or his job-less grunt who helps him collect junk to put in his garage or his “big white van” (WHICH he parks right on our property line AND on the SIDEWALK!) He is a H-O-A-R-D-E-R like you have never seen before. In fact, when the first set of problem neighbors moved away recently, he stole a table and four chairs that they had out in front of their garage for the local Salvation Army to pick up. All sneaky-like, he stole it after dark. He is THAT BAD. I think he also stole the storage unit they had in their back yard, b/c now it’s in his back yard. Not to mention, I think he has family (or “customers”) living a few doors down… Yay! We’re surrounded!

    I swear, we live in a decent neighborhood. I just don’t understand these two neighbors that we have living around us.

    In short. I totally sympathize with you.

    • Whoa – okay, you win. But ooh, when he does snap and go on a killing spree, you can totally be that person they interview on the street who says “Yes, we totally saw it coming. A mile away.”

  3. Well, it would probably discourage me from breaking in…who wants to be on the losing end of a knife fight with Lady Gaga? But my deepest sympathies. I, too, have neighbors that use jet engines to complete gardening tasks. Sadly, though, I confess I’m the one in the neighborhood who is usually screeching loudly at a dog (although in my case, I’m usually screaming “NO! PUT THE BIRD/BUNNY/NEIGHBOR’S DOG DOWN. DROP IT! DROP IT!” or in one case “STOP CLIMBING THE TREE!!!!! YOU DON’T WANT TO PICK A FIGHT WITH A RACCOON!!!!!”)

  4. I laughed this morning over my diet Coke, and smiled while reminiscing on the old days. It goes without saying I was also empathizing. Been there. Done that. Luckily, I currently reside in a cabin in the woods (totally not the scary/horror movie variety) where my biggest nuisances are deer and elk that munch the hell out of my aspen trees. Oh, and massive forest fires that scare the crap out of everyone.
    Anyway, thanks for the laugh and the soda-snort that cleared up my sinuses. :)

    • I would loooove a cabin in the woods. I was actually just searching for one the other day, like to rent for part of a week. Didn’t find one. Will have to build my own.

  5. Feeling for ya on this one. (And, may I say, the storytelling was hilarious!)

    I have problem neighbors, too. Only I live in an apartment. On the second floor. And these guys live above me.

    During the day, I hear nothing from them, but their HUMONGOUS dog howls and yelps into the afternoon until it eventually grows hoarse and then apparently dies since there is always a loud thump after the last bark. There are maybe three or four hours of blessed silence before the screaming or singing commences. I don’t really know which is worse but both are indulged in at maximum volume. As the evening wears on, the guy stands on his balcony, attempting to asphyxiate us with the smoke from his 101 cigarettes while carefully aiming his still-smoldering butts onto our balcony. (I guess he’s determined to kill us one way or the other – smoke or fire, doesn’t matter.) Once dinner rolls around, the party is in full swing. At least I assume it’s a party. There are stomps and yells and pans clanging and rather disturbing thumps on the kitchen ceiling that threaten to shake the light fixture loose. I guess all that energy needs to go somewhere, because all of the guests then engage in a game of “catch everyone else” and for about two hours, there are the loud poundings of tiny feet in giant boots racing to and fro. This is followed by several large thuds and then eerie silence. We always know they’re still alive, though, because the minute we get into bed and turn out the lights, the chainsaw whirs to life, along with what must be about a thousand bees. Then they take turns tumbling off *their* bed and writhe on the floor a bit, all while deftly maneuvering the chainsaw around. Just for the hell of it, they flush their toilet about 50 times every hour and run their obscenely squeaky shower faucet for an hour or two at a time. About the time we give up on sleeping and decide it’s time to get ready for the now-arrived tomorrow, another series of heavy thumps shakes the ceiling and all noise stops….until the dog begins again.

    I swear they’re doing some hardcore geological experimentation up there. Or maybe they’re just really noisy vampires.

  6. LOL, I love this post! At least you have your corner of the internet to get your rant-on about your neighbor so you can be all like, “Oh, hey, what’s up Dude?” and “Oh noooo, you’re not being too noisey.. at 11:00 pm… at all” to his face.
    Altho, wouldn’t it be a little funny if he does know who you are and what you do … AND actually reads this blog? well, funny in an awkward sort of way.

    ps. mine is the deaf dog in the neighborhood (and nearly blind now too) and I’m the one cringing in the house while my husband hollers “BAILEY!! BAAILEY!! BAAAAAILEEEEEEEEEY…. BAILEY!” over and over until my dog (finally) finds his way to the back door. I just know my neighbors hate us…. but they’re civil to our faces, so it’s all good :)

    • I’m okay with people yelling for their dogs–but it’s literally only feet away from our window, and the dog is right there. I mean, it’s RIGHT THERE. Your child is sitting beside you, and the child gets loving whispers. So why does the dog get screaming?

  7. I’m imagining what your neighbour will be doing when there are gaggles of your fans coming and driving by your house in hopes catching a glimpse of Gina, the world famous, best selling author…. ah, sweet revenge

  8. This post both made me laugh and shake my head. I too have one of those annoying neighbors, but instead of leaf blowers and such, he finds it necessary to rev his ridiculously loud truck for 10 minutes every singe time he starts it up, then proceed to drive down the street at about 50 mph with the pedal to the floor to make it as loud as it can possibly be. Also every time he lets his dog out, it runs off since he apparently doesn’t know what a leash is, and then instead of going to get it, he will stand in his yard yelling and swearing for the dog until it comes back, so I have to limit my daughter’s play time outside so she doesn’t start telling people to eff off or something. Then When the dog does come back, he puts it in a cage outside and it yelps and yowls for the next few hours. *sigh* Don’t we all have that neighbor….

  9. Thank you, Gina, for a good laugh this morning (although I’m sure you’re not laughing). I think your followers love this post because we all can relate (unless you’re THAT neighbor). I recall a comedian saying if you don’t have one of these neighbors, YOU’RE IT. (I think it was Terry Fator, ventriloquist, impersonator, singer, winner of America’s Got Talent – he has a show in Vegas & a DVD of his act – you HAVE to check it out – the guy is awesome!) Anyway, you made us think of ridiculous behavior of some of our neighbors.

    When we were first married we lived in an apartment complex along with, who we referred to as, the crazy cat lady. Every night she would go out into the common area and call her (also deaf) cats. I have never known cats to come when you call them, but she kept on trying. There are just rewards at times – she threw her back out carrying a 50 lb. bag of cat litter.

    Amy’s post made me think of the neighbor who lived next door where we currently live. He also drove a ridiculously loud truck, but apparently it wasn’t big enough for this quiet, suburban neighborhood, so he bought a larger truck that shook our entire house every morning (very early) when he started it up for work. I’m not sure where he worked where he needed a large, diesel-fueled truck, but I’m thinking he was compensating for something else. Anyway, the just rewards here are that he had to actually reconfigure his garage so this thing would fit.

    This same neighbor was fanatical about his grass. We have a small strip between our driveways, half of which is ours, the other half theirs. Every time my sons would be out playing basketball, he would go out afterward and rake and water where they had stepped on HIS grass. I could not see where they had “stepped,” but apparently he could. Seriously? They were teenagers playing basketball, for God’s sake. He was a young guy. You would think he would join in their game or something. One day my son (unintentionally, I swear) drove a golf ball through their side kitchen window. He got a two-fer because it bounced off the wall and went through the back kitchen window. I’m not sure if I count THIS as the just reward, or the fact that they have a kid of their own now. Oh, and they moved.

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