I need to do a bit of scanning for my next blog “concept” idea so instead on working on that (there are closets and sifting involved and I see this idea being ultimately shelved), Jay thought blogging about why I hate my neighbor might be therapeutic.
You all may remember that I live in suburban utopia with tons of rules surrounded by Julies. (The one April moved, which was sad. I liked the April.) And one of the Julies is a public nuisance – the one that filled me in on: birthing plans of each neighbor in our little circle (I don’t know these people, but I know their plans) the first day I met her, the difficulties of selling her house which was built by a premium builder while the ones behind her were constructed by a fat, lazy builder who presumably used Elmer’s glue and a staple gun, her problems with the neighbor’s dog that lived behind her (barking is bad), and we’re almost certain that she reported us on an edging violation. Yes, we didn’t edge for an entire month thus single-handedly driving the property values down for her house and were doubtlessly one step away from putting my car up on blocks in the front yard. I know that her husband works up to 80 hours a week (who wouldn’t want those hours – I almost did after talking to her for 5 minutes) and she stays at home lurking about worrying about each neighbor. They even made her our “block captain”. I don’t know about you, but I hear those two words together and I see her as a gentile making sure there are “keine Juden in deinem Dachboden” (no Jews in your attic) let alone your Home Owner’s Association. She’s like Gladys Kravitz from Bewitched without the laugh track.
I usually try to avoid her because she gives me that “vibe” and when I get that “vibe” I’m usually dead on. See, I honestly believe she’s off her meds and not in a funny way.
So, yesterday morning I’m outside with Sam who decided I’d slept in long enough and because she can pop her ears forward just so, stick out her tongue and wiggle her whole body I found myself sitting stunned on the back porch. (Sam has abandonment issues and won’t stay outside if you’re not there, too.). As I’m sitting there feeling like warmed over death I hear the howls of dogs rolling through the streets which almost always precede a siren of some sort. It’s an awesome yet spooky sound and I was caught in that moment when Sam took up the call. I’m not sure if she was responding or there was something REALLY interesting in the overgrown flower bed, but she was barking along with the other dogs.
Suddenly, I hear shrieking as the crazy one launches out of her house.
“BE QUIET! BE QUIET! YOU BE QUIET!”
I tried to become very, very small in my chair because 1) I know the lady is completely nuts and 2) this is playing into her whole barking pet peeve (she threatened some neighbors behind her with police calls and she was proud of that).
Then she hollers, and I don’t know how she knew I was there without peeking through the wooden fence, and that creeps me out a bit, “Can you PLEASE keep your dog quiet?!?!”
I responded in a fairly flip way because I don’t respond to being screamed at and Sam really isn’t a barker, “I will try!”
“You will try or I will call the police and ….” in her most indignant tone.
I didn’t hear the rest of what she said because she pushed every crazy button in me and I was starting to shake.
I managed a very loud, “OK!”
I have a pretty terrible temper and should probably go through some anger management training, but every time someone pushes me to the point where I think I need that I get angrier because they don’t feel compelled to go see a counselor to learn “how not to piss Beth off.” So needless to say, my “conversation” with Insane Julie was over because from that moment forward I was only capable of a few monosyllabic words (which is not a euphemism for swearing – although some of those words would have been colorful). When I’m that mad, I return to a more simple state where I can only speak a handful of sentences and facts go straight out the window (it’s something you’d have to see since I can’t describe it well). The best course of action for me at that point is to walk away.
In I come seething from the injustice of it all. In my mind, at least, I’m one of those “good neighbors” – I’m quiet, we take care of our yard and we generally don’t bother other people. We especially don’t bother with crazy Julie because she’s gossipy and generally one of those “negative” people you don’t need in your life – everything for her is miserable and trying and you don’t want to be a part of that. Also, in my mind, is that I have possibly the best dog in the world and as a new beagle mom, it pisses me off that anyone would suggest that Sam is nothing but lovely. Sure, she barks… she’s a dog, but she’s outside 4-5 times a day in 10-15 minute spurts and when she’s out there, we don’t let her go completely crazy with the barking and she generally doesn’t. She’s mostly out there sniffing around and wagging her tail quietly checking to make sure we haven’t snuck back into the house. Occasionally she catches a scent and does her hound thing (baying) as she sniffs it out and sometimes she does charge crazy Julie’s fence to bark at her poodle (that obscene beast that raced from their yard onto my porch snarling and snapping at Sam the first day I took her on a walk), but we typically don’t let Sam bark at that ratty thing because of crazy Julie.
I was mad all day, glaring at the TV and Jay would say things like, “Beth, don’t dwell, you’re just getting angrier” while I mumbled, “I’m not dwelling, I’m highly focused on this Cialis commercial” – he didn’t buy it. Then there was, “Beth, all of this energy is wasted – she can’t feel your anger” so I imagined putting all of my bad thoughts into a swirling black energy ball and bouncing it off her head. The bad side is we got so mad, that Sam was noticeably upset. There was lots of dropping to the floor trying to reassure her that she was a very good dog, but she wasn’t buying it.
The plan today is to go to the movies, get out of the house and not think about miserable Julie any more. If she calls the police, which we think is more of a threat than anything since we’re about 90% sure she’d be embarrassed to have them at her house, we’ll talk to them. (We researched our city’s ordinances and we’re very confident that we are in the right.) If she threatens again, we may call them out just to have them show up to verify Sam’s level of barking. (Why should they save the city when they can spend a few minutes listening to Sam?) Other than that, Jay says I can’t do anything more and I should probably stop thinking of my ideas as “great ideas”. L
If I try to put this all into perspective, I guess she’s not the worst neighbor. That honor goes to my friend Jerry whose downstairs neighbor came up to scream at he and his roommate for dripping poison on him through the floorboards of their apartment as the guy slept. Although, it makes me believe that Julie’s true love is out there waiting for her somewhere in Manhattan.
I still hate her though.