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All Treat, No Trick, Part 3

, , , , , | Friendly | October 30, 2022

My husband and I love Halloween. Every year, we take turns handing out candy. The person who isn’t doing so gets to walk around and observe the decorations and trick-or-treaters. We switch mid-way through trick-or-treating time. This happens when I’m the one walking.

I’m minding my own business, enjoying the spooky sights and sounds, when a little girl in the typical princess costume approaches me, her mother not far behind.

Girl: “Where’s your costume?”

While I am not dressed up for the holiday, I am wearing a Halloween shirt, pumpkin earrings, and a bat necklace.

Me: “This is it, I guess.”

Girl: *Confused.* “But, how can you trick-or-treat without a costume?”

Me: “Oh, I’m not trick-or-treating. I just like to look around.”

The girl’s eyes grow huge, and her mouth flies open.

Girl: “You mean, you don’t like candy?”

I try not to laugh. Her mom’s doing the same.

Me: “I like candy. Grown-ups just don’t trick-or-treat.”

The girl ponders this revelation and then holds open her candy bag.

Girl: “Here! Take one!”

This is the last thing I expected, but I’m genuinely touched, considering that we’re total strangers. I look to mom to make sure it’s okay. Mom nods with a big grin on her face. I reach into the bag and pull out a random piece of candy.

Me: “Thank you so much!”

Girl: “You’re welcome. Happy Halloween!”

Me: “You too!”

We walk away, and I hear mom praising her daughter for being so nice. Meanwhile, I happily munched on my peanut butter cup and continued my walk.

All Treat, No Trick, Part 2
All Treat, No Trick

Sometimes We Wish You Could Evict Neighbors

, , , , | Friendly | September 23, 2022

I have two immediate neighbors; for the sake of this story my house number is 123 and the two neighbors’ house numbers are 124 and 125.

House 124 houses a lovely couple with two kids. I’ve actually babysat their daughter a couple of times (the youngest kid is eight months old) and we’ve been invited over to their place for dinner. They are basically some of the nicest, most pleasant people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.

House 125 on the other hand… I’ve lived in the house for fifteen years, and I’ve literally never seen either the husband or the wife. The only hint of anyone living in the house is that it’s well-maintained and occasionally there is a car on the driveway. I truly could not have told you anything about them… until fairly recently.

Last year, 124 wanted to widen their (somewhat narrow) driveway and therefore widened it about two feet to the right, in 125’s direction. This all took place on their own land, by the way; we have fences delineating whose property is whose. This was not a property dispute.

Very shortly after the change was made, they were notified by the town that, since we live in the range where cosmetic renovations (at least to the outside) of the house had to be approved by the council before they could be made, they would have to rip it up. How did the town become aware of it? Someone had “anonymously complained” about it.

House 124 went around the neighborhood asking for signatures verifying that they weren’t troublesome people. Almost everyone signed… except 125. Hmm.

Later, before the hearing to attempt to keep the change due to it… seriously not being a major issue, one of the town council members slipped and revealed to 124 that 125 had been the ones to complain. (No surprise there.) 

The hearing, unfortunately, ended up denying the request to keep the extra width to their driveway, so they had to get rid of the extra width only about three weeks after having it installed.

Very shortly after (maybe a week after the incident), 125, after fourteen years of no change to their house, suddenly made the decision to go with a “natural wood fence”. It was very ugly and did not suit their house at all. Their house is white with a grayish blue roof and gray stones. The wood is kind of the color of birch wood with lots of knots in it and would look fantastic next to a warmer-colored house. The fence conveniently made it harder to casually talk over the fence to their next-door neighbor, 124. They also added low hedges to that particular side of the house!

Recently, my family went to see 124 for a family event. After having some fun and watching the kids mess around, I casually asked how everything was going with 125. 

The dad of 124 turned to me with a little chuckle

Dad: “Oh, you have to see it to believe it!”

Then, he opened a text conversation that he’d had with 125.

The text conversation started cordially enough; the lady in 125 was the one texting him, and she had that habit that older people have where they’ll turn their texts into a mini-letter. 

It very quickly devolved into her messaging him MULTIPLE TIMES A DAY after a long period of silence with thinly veiled demands. The demands included:

  • Asking 124 to not have visitors park in 124’s own driveway. (?)
  • 124 has a holiday display around Christmas — nothing super fancy, just some lights in their doorway and a blowup snowman that lights up at night. 125 complained that the light was “shining right into their windows” and “asked” them to turn it off after 12:00 am. (To give another example of just how wild that request is, that snowman was nearer to us and it literally never bothered us.)
  • Asking, AGAIN, less than three hours later, if he’d seen her text and would turn off the display. It was timestamped at 1:00 in the morning!
  • Complaining that his tree was dropping leaves into her yard. (The neighbor’s tree is an evergreen and nearer to our yard, about as far away from her yard as they could get.)
  • Demanding to know why he was “bullying her husband.” (124 both said they had no idea what she meant by this.)

Her messages ranged from “Dear [124]” to a very terse “[124]”, sometimes within the span of a few hours. However, with the exception of one reply in 2020… this man had NEVER RESPONDED to her tirades.

The crowning jewel, which was sent the day before, was a spam of around twenty-three text messages (forgoing “signing” it and the opening) telling him he was the worst neighbor on our street, that he and his wife were horrible, selfish people, and typing in ALL CAPS demanding that he move his car away from her house.

His crime? They were moving a table into the garage while it was raining, and he had parked a single wheel in the grass nearer to her yard to make room for the delivery truck to back directly up to their garage so they could move it into the garage with minimal water damage to the box or the table. The car was on the grass for less than fifteen minutes.

Won’t You (Please, Please NOT) Be My Neighbor?

, , , , , | Friendly | September 5, 2022

We live in a 1930s residential area in terraced houses that don’t have their own driveways or garages. Not many people owned cars back then, so parking space wasn’t a priority in planning. As a result, everyone must park on the narrow street, and parking spots are tight and scarce. You just park your car in the first available spot you can find.

Everyone is fine with this situation. No one claims a parking spot, and we all have a quiet agreement that you park your car so someone else can either park in front of or behind it. There’s no hogging of two parking spots because of bad parking.

One day, we all find a leaflet in our mailbox announcing the arrival of [New Neighbor].

Leaflet: “I’m [New Neighbor], the new owner of house number twelve. The parking spots in front of my house must be kept vacant on [date] so the movers won’t have any difficulties parking their van. Failure to do so will result in cars being towed. The sidewalk in front of my house and the three houses on either side will be off-limits so the movers won’t be hindered by people walking by.”

Unsurprisingly, this announcement is not received well. Apart from the fact that [New Neighbor]’s entitlement is so high that she thinks that she can tow cars that are legally parked, she also can’t deny her neighbors the right to use the sidewalk.

On the day that the movers arrive with their van, all parking spots in front of the house are occupied and some neighbors have installed themselves on the pavement with chairs and tables. They are drinking tea and coffee and having a nice neighborhood party. The movers address the neighbors.

Movers: “Would you like to move your cars so we can park here?”

Neighbor #1: “None of these cars belong to us, so we can’t help you.”

Neighbor #2: “If you damage any of those cars, though, things will get ugly.”

[New Neighbor] appears at this stage and starts screaming.

New Neighbor: “I’m going to have all these cars towed! I’ll let the police clear the sidewalk!”

Of course, everyone started making fun of her.

[New Neighbor] grabbed her phone and started calling towing services, just to find out that no one would tow cars just because she said so. The next number she called was the emergency number. They told her that abuse of the number could cost her 6700 Euros, as we could hear since [New Neighbor] was literally screaming the conversation and repeating the answers she got.

[New Neighbor] was losing it at that point, but it got worse when one of the movers drew her attention and pointed to the front door of her new house. The front door was boarded up, and it would take a few hours to make the house accessible again.

After an hour of discussion, phone calls, swearing, and throwing tantrums, [New Neighbor] realized that she wouldn’t have a happy life on our street. The movers drove off without unloading one single bit of furniture, and [New Neighbor] left after giving threats of lawsuits and “I’ll be back” statements.

The next day, a realtor put a new “For Sale” sign up, and the house was later sold to a lovely couple who knew how to treat neighbors.

We later found out that [New Neighbor] had quite a history of making herself an “unwanted element” with her neighbors.

She never came back.

Like A Good Neighbor, F*** Bigots

, , , , , , , , | Friendly | August 28, 2022

This was in the mid-1990s, prior to the hidden camera and instant digital photo age.

I moved into a new quiet neighborhood during the winter. The first few weeks were uneventful until I noticed a peculiar pattern of events. Every time it snowed overnight, I would go outside in the morning to find both my windshield and rear window rubbed clean.

One morning, I noticed a set of footprints leading up to my porch steps, taking a few steps up to a chair that was on my porch, and then turning and leaving. This was especially puzzling because I hadn’t even left anything in the chair to begin with!

Then, one night, I woke up in the middle of the night. After randomly glancing out of my window, I noticed a man in pajamas and a bathrobe walking away from my car. By the time I made it to the door to go ask him exactly what that was about, he was gone. And yes, my front and rear windows had the snow rubbed off of them!

A few days later, I was walking my dog around the neighborhood. As I was heading back home, I spotted a child somewhere around the age of six through nine rubbing off my windows and then prancing away.

I called out and jogged up to her.

Me: “Hi there! I’m Mr. [My Name]; I’m the new guy in that house there.”

Girl: “Hi!”

Me: “Can I ask why you were rubbing the snow off my car window? I’m just curious because it’s… rather odd.”

Girl: “Um… I really gotta go. I have to finish my homework. But if you have kids, they can play with me and my brother. My mom and dad want to meet you too. We live right, there.” *Points to a house* “Bye!”

This was all peculiar, and I wasn’t sure if this was something I was supposed to be alarmed about since this was various people (even kids!) doing it. I couldn’t make heads or tails of it.

Then, one late night, I went out to walk my dog, and boom! I caught one red-handed — this time, a teenage boy accompanied by two other kids.

Me: “Okay, hold it! What in the world is up with everyone clearing the snow off my car windows?”

[Teen #1], who had been cleaning off my windows, pointed to a house down the street.

Teen #1: “That jacka** over there keeps writing the N-word on your car every time it snows. A girl over there in that house—” *pointing* “—said he even draped a Confederate flag with a noose on your chair, but she came and took it.”

Me: *Alarmed* “WOAH! I need his name now so I can call the police!”

Teen #2: “No, no, not this time! This dude actually ran a black family out of the neighborhood after harassing them nonstop and the cops dragging their heels to deal with it.”

Teen #3: “The cops did finally charge him, but he got a plea deal and just got sneakier. The family ended up just moving out because they were sick of constantly having to deal back and forth with the cops and court.”

Teen #1: “So, when we all saw you moving in and saw you were black, we all arranged like a neighborhood watch thing where everyone on the block peeps out at your car and house, day and night. Any time someone spots the slur on your car, they go out and wipe it off. It never stays on there longer than a couple of hours, if that.”

Me: “I thank you so much from the bottom of my heart! But… I really need for the law to document this—”

Teen #3: “No. We’re all handling him since the cops can’t. Sooner or later, he’ll get tired of people walking their dogs up to his front lawn to take a dump, getting prank calls every night at like four in the morning, finding a mountain of snow dumped in his driveway entrance every morning, getting everyone’s junk mail crammed into his mailbox so that he has to pick up his mail from the post office, finding his newspaper pissed on, and getting banned from getting any kind of delivery at his house from every restaurant in town because everyone was constantly calling in bogus delivery orders with his address.”

Teen #1: “Yeah… and hearing the guy next door playing U Can’t Touch This on repeat for five hours straight every day.”

I didn’t know what to say to that because I was laughing too hard to say anything.

My “window cleaning service” continued for about a week more before I finally started walking out to the car in the morning to find the windows covered in snow or frost like they should have been. I’m guessing Mr. Bigot finally had to wave the white flag.

Meanwhile, I ended up becoming great friends with a lot of the people on the block, and when summer came along, we’d have fun get-togethers like neighborhood cookouts and such! I lived there without any further incidents for about seven years before my landlord ended up selling the property.

If I Were Going Any Slower, I’d Be Going Backward

, , , , , , | Friendly | July 28, 2022

When my friends and I got our driver’s licenses, we were very cautious drivers in our neighborhood. There were lots of kids playing, and they were always running in and out of the street, so we were overly cautious and drove slow.

Posted sporadically throughout the neighborhood were speed limit signs of 25 mph. My friends and I usually went maybe 20 mph because we’d had a couple of kids pop out in the street right in front of us a few times, as a ball would go bouncing into the street and a kid would just run right out after it. We didn’t have any accidents, but a pizza delivery driver did; a kid ran out from behind a parked car chasing a ball and the kid got hit and almost died. My friends and I didn’t want to be in that situation, so we always went slower in the neighborhood.

Most adults, on the other hand, would drive through the neighborhood going 30 mph or more, not stopping fully at stop signs, and not slowing down when kids were outside playing. Cops used to park down the road from some of the four-way-stop intersections, and they’d constantly get adults pulled over for not stopping. It was sad, but also funny because my friend’s mom got a ticket for rolling through the stop signs.

A few doors down from my house, there was an older man (probably around sixty or so) who would yell at the teenagers as they drove by. He would tell us we were driving too fast and we needed to slow down. It was a constant thing. He’d walk to the edge of his yard, waving his cane and yelling at kids to drive slower, but when an adult went speeding down the street, he never caused a scene with them. It may be possible that he thought some of the kids were driving fast because a couple of friends of mine had aftermarket exhaust and headers on their cars and they were overly loud. Maybe the old man mistook the loud cars for going fast even when they weren’t?

I grew tired of his tirades one day and I barked at him. My friend was in the front passenger seat and I had just backed out of my driveway. The old man’s house was three doors down, on the opposite side of the road that I lived on. My car was nothing special, and even if I wanted to, I don’t think I could get my car past 30 mph in that short of a distance. But, as I was doing maybe 10 mph when I started to approach his house, here came the old man, hobbling across his yard, waving his cane, and yelling at us.

Old Man: “Slow down! You’re going too fast! You kids always drive too fast! SLOW DOWN!”

Having a manual, I just put the car in neutral, opened my door, and stepped out of the car. I looked the old guy in the eyes as I started to push my car…

Me: “Is this better? Should I just get out and push my f****** car? Would this make you happy? How about you shut the f*** up and yell at the parents that tear a** through the streets and not the kids that actually drive slow?”

The old man didn’t say anything back. He just hobbled back to his porch and never yelled at us again. I guess the old man was too chicken to yell at adults and he must have felt like a bigshot yelling at teenagers.