Ask April- Observational Wisdom- Shitty Neighbors
Welcome to Ask April, a no-nonsense advice column focusing on what it is you can do to correct things that need correcting. While we all know much in life is out of our control, and sometimes, our reaction is all we CAN control- we really do have a lot of personal power, thankfully. Our will is just as important as the wills of others around us, and while we need to be considerate, we also need to make sure others are equally considerate of us. It is my hope that when you write in to me, asking advice, that I can help you make a good decision that somehow improves whatever situation you’ve found yourself in. As with anything I share, I recommend people don’t automatically take my word for anything, but include my advice in with the rest of the things that help them make a decision. I wish you well. Read on.
Every other week, I answer a call for advice, and every other week, I share my views on something I observed- I call this Observational Wisdom.
Oh boy. Today’s Observational Wisdom comes from my own personal life.
The neighborhood busybody is at work right now. As usual.
We live in condos, and this woman, who I will call Bee, thinks rules apply to everybody but her. She is also prone to screaming fits in the street in front of her condo. The police have been called before. She is pure, and 100% drama. I wish she would move. But then the heroin users in the next building would still be here too, so eventually, WE are the ones moving.
Until then, we have to put up with these folks.
Bee thinks she does not have to observe assigned parking, and parks in everybody else’s spaces. But if your guest accidentally parks in her space? She gets out there and tells them to move immediately. The condo manager finally got sick of her husband parking where he had told the guy not to, so a large warning sticker was placed on the dashboard. Bee got in the middle of the street, and had a meltdown about it, screaming and bitching.
She also drinks alcohol on her front stoop, which is not such a big deal, except she drinks until she is drunk, and staggers around in front. People can smell the alcohol on her regularly, and unfortunately, I guess yelling and bitching in the front yard is not a crime, so she does it whenever she feels like it.
She parks in front of the fire hydrant to unload her groceries, and chat with people in the street, but when maintenance had to park there, guess what? She had something to say about that.
She likes the heroin users. A LOT. When one broke into my house, she tried to say I told two different stories about the break in to the police. She accused me of not knowing who broke in, but I saw the guy, and he even confessed that it was him in court. She, of course did not show up to be supportive of him, so she did not know that. She just wanted to run her mouth.
I tried to make peace and forgive her for that, which was stupid on my part, but she blew it soonafter. She was having another of her screaming fit meltdowns in the front, and was yelling at a friend of mine, who is on the condo board in the process. I stepped outside to see what was the matter. She was upset about a water repair taking forever- however, it was discovered, SHE was the one who caused the holdup for herself! She called the city to see if a permit had been authorized to cleanup the pipe that was leaking into her basement- and the city said it had not. So guess who got to wait another couple weeks for a repair due to the holdup for a permit, and the water kept leaking in her basement? Rather than accept she had done this to herself, she was screaming at the board member for not making the repair go faster.
During this conversation, she revealed she had installed something the board made her remove because it was not what the community said had to be installed. She did not think she should have had to. She said she would like to take the board member, and go to each condo and see what other rule violations there were. She then pointed her finger at me, and said ‘You are not supposed to grow vegetables, but you do, April!!!!!’ I told her nobody ever told me it was not allowed. She then responded by accusing me of having an affair on my husband with the board member she had been standing there screaming at.
At that point, I told her off and told her not to talk to me anymore.
It really hurt me to do this. I have never in all of my life had an issue with a neighbor, and I am 41 years old. Now I have one who I had to call the cops on, and I have one I have forbidden to speak with me.
I don’t look down on people for their mistakes, and while I’m not going to drinking or drug parties, if somebody is not hurting me, I will not insinuate myself in their life.
So, guess who decided to go on the warpath this year, and has “reported” the vegetable growers and is trying to take our gardens away?
ON one hand, I feel for her.
I think the parking violation sticker was 100% justified. Unfortunately, a past condo manager really disliked Bee- for obvious reasons- however, instead of addressing the issues of the drunk and disorderly behavior in the streets, the condo manager went after Bee’s garden.
I think that was the lowest thing they could have done.
I don’t care if it’s Pol Pot or Adolph Hitler. You do NOT fuck with people’s gardens.
And Bee’s thumb is just as green as mine. She bought this condo, and was a single mom, and wanted to focus on raising kids. She could have dumped the kids off on their dad, and bought herself a nice big house with acres, and maybe even a pond.
She’s very pretty, and has a femme fatale look about her. She wears stilettos well, and is not afraid to wear a nice black suit with bright red pumps! Her hair is red, and she’s slim, trim, and looks marvelous in a pair of form fitting jeans even though she is past 50. She can be incredibly warm, and kind, and other times, she goes for the jugular. You never know which Bee you are going to get.
Part of me loves, and admires this woman for her virtues, and part of me wishes she would just disappear because she’s a ticking time bomb, and I’m sick of her explosions.
I planted all the zucchinis, cucumbers, and onions now. My back is killing me from the work. I have cucumber seeds left over, and they are what are called lemon cucumbers. Little cucumbers that look almost just like lemons, and taste great. If Bee was not always attacking me, I would have shared seeds with her, and I have plenty of stakes for her to have for the cucumbers to vine up on. It’s almost time to trim back my massive mint and share that with people, and next year, my new lemon balm will be big enough to share. We always have too many tomatoes, and give some of those out as well.
Bee won’t be getting any of these things. Not because I don’t want her to have anything, but because I know she might attack me, and use the bounty against me if she so pleases.
I should be thankful this is the first time in my life a thing like this has happened to me, but truthfully, I’m sad. I should also not take any of this personally, because this is how Bee behaves in general towards anybody she is in the mood to. I’m not the only vegetable grower, and the neighbor I was accused of having an affair with was also accused of an affair in the process.
I have to remember this woman is not the way she is specifically to give me a hard time, although she does enjoy giving me a hard time, though. I have to remember the way she happens to be is her own personal struggle, although she seems to enjoy it. I have to remember that even if she and I would never have met, she would still be out there, screaming all the time, and trying to make people’s lives miserable.
I also have to remember there will come a day when I am not stuck living almost 100 yards from her front stoop. Until then, she can try anything she wants, but it won’t get her anywhere.
So in review- be nice to your neighbors. If you have a drinking issue, get it under control, or everybody will see what a mess you are, and it will damage relations with neighbors. Be courteous of the rules of your community, and don’t think only of yourself. Don’t get revenge on other people because there has been a change, and you are mad about the past. Don’t sling accusations, and if you THINK things are going on that don’t involve you? Stay out of it. BTW- I have not had any affairs, nor do I plan to.
Be careful who you cross- they might be a Witch, like me. But even if they are not, and you suffer no consequences, why fuck with people? Why devote your time to that ugliness and hostility? Why not enjoy life, and enjoy other people instead?
Also, when people show you how they are, don’t hope for them to change. Know they have done you a courtesy of demonstrating what can be expected, and expect nothing else. Don’t be stupid and go out of your way to be friendly with people who go out of their way to attack other people. Know that there will come a day when they attack you, too. Once they attack you, know there could always be another attack. Don’t waste time being upset. Just do what you have to do to safeguard yourself and loved ones. Stay the hell away from attackers.
Unfortunately, keeping the peace with neighbors cannot always be done. Express boundaries, and expectations, and then enforce them. Not everybody is respectful, and not everybody does the right thing unless they are threatened with consequences. Don’t feel sorry for people who bring consequences upon themselves, and don’t feel guilty for watching out for yourself and your household.
Lucky for me, 99% of the people in these condos are great, and I am thankful to be blessed by being next to them. What I deal with frim the minority creeps is small compared to the benefits I get from all these other good folks.
Regardless of what Bee wants, the breakin resulted in jail time for her favorite junkie, and our gardens will continue to grow. I have to decide where to dry the marigold heads to save seeds now, and the dog wants to go visit the neighbor friend who I am not sleeping around with.
Until next week, enjoy the weather, your home, and your neighbors!