Weeding Out The Bad Neighbors

, , | Friendly | June 19, 2017

(It is during summer and I am about nine years old. A few months prior, the city had decided to fix some nonexistent cracks in the sidewalks and make the residents pay about $500 each for it. Obviously, people complained, but the city informed them that the sidewalks were city property and that the residents had no right to decide whether the repairs were necessary. The residents tried to fight the cost being forced on them, but they lost. One of my neighbors is a bit of a grump who likes to turn tiny problems into huge issues. He also has a large garden, which he tends to obsessively. When I’m walking past his house on the way to a friend’s place, I see a tiny flower (clearly a weed) growing between the cracks of the sidewalk. I pick it and tuck it behind my ear before continuing on my way. My friend isn’t home, though, so I go back to my house. I find my mom and the grumpy neighbor arguing on the front porch.)

Neighbor: *pointing at me* “There! There it is! See? In her hair! That’s the flower she stole!”

Mom: “That little thing? The way you were going on, I thought you meant an expensive flower, like an orchid or something.”

Neighbor: “It doesn’t matter! She’s a dirty thief!”

Me: *thinking I’m about to get in a lot of trouble* “But it was just a weed! It was growing between the sidewalk cracks.”

Neighbor: “I don’t care where it was growing! You stole it from me.”

Mom: “What exactly is it that you want me to do? She can’t put the flower back.”

Neighbor: “I know she can’t put the flower back. Do you think I’m stupid? She destroyed it, and I want her punished! If you refuse to address this matter, I’ll have to involve the police.”

Mom: *pulling me behind her* “Go right ahead.”

Neighbor: *shocked* “What?”

Mom: *trying not to smirk* “As you well know after those repairs, the sidewalks are the property of the city, not you. The city has no laws forbidding children from picking flowers. Now, if that will be all, I think it’s time for you to leave.”

Neighbor: *sputtering* “But… but… she stole from me!”

Mom: “No, she clearly didn’t. But you’re on private property, and I’ve already asked to leave once. If you stay here, you’ll be trespassing, and I’ll have to involve the police.”

Neighbor: *leaves, looking like he just swallowed a lemon*

Me: *staring in shock at my mom, who’s normally very soft-spoken and non-confrontational*

Mom: “Never give in to people like that, honey. If you do, they’ll walk all over you forever.”

They’re Not In The Same Boat

, , , , , | Friendly | June 9, 2017

(I am a kid. Our neighbors tell us about a nice dinner cruise they took on New Year’s and we all decide to go together. We get to the boat.)

Neighbor: “Hello, we’re here for the dinner cruise.”

Worker: *eyes the kids* “Umm, this is an adult cruise.”

Neighbor: *smiling* “What? We did this cruise during New Year’s.”

Worker: *clears throat* “Umm, yeah, we only do the kid-friendly cruises during the holidays.”

Neighbor: “How is the cruise not kid-friendly?”

Worker: “Umm…”

(At that moment, I look through the window of the boat and see a stripper pole. I tell my fellow neighbor’s children.)

Neighbor’s Child: *leans over to her mom and whispers in her ear*

Neighbor: *eyes go wide* “Oh!”

(We ended up going home and ordering pizza!)

Your Temper Is On A Short Leash

, , , , , , | Friendly | June 8, 2017

(I live in a dog-friendly apartment complex, which is great, but can be a pain in the case of people like my downstairs neighbor. She constantly lets her dogs out without a leash and then stands around calling for them for several minutes. In this story, this is happening at four in the morning.)

Lady: “Sadie! Oh, Sadie, where are you?”

Male Neighbor: *slams open window* “Buy a god-d*** leash, woman!”

(She hasn’t so far.)

Meet My Other Neighbors; Sex, And Rock & Roll

, , , , | Friendly | June 8, 2017

(The lady across the road from my house had died so her family rented the house out for a while before selling it. The renters were a few guys who had gone to the same school as me. We start noticing they get many visitors on Tuesdays, the visits lasting just a few minutes before the visitors leave while shoving something in their pockets. One day my younger sister comes home from school, absolutely fuming.)

Me: “What’s up with you?”

Sister: “Those f****** druggos across the street, that’s what. I just had [Boy From School] asking me if I lived on [Our Street] and if I knew about the drug house at number 52. I told him it was at 53 not 52. He then called me a druggo for knowing the exact address, so I hit him. Told him that I lived at 52 and if he tried calling me that again I would beat the living s*** out of him.”

The Sign(s) Of A Good Neighborhood

, | USA | Hopeless | May 12, 2017

(My wife and I have just moved to a new neighborhood. A few days after we move in, my wife is at the store, and I am home alone. I am Deaf, and we have trained our dog to come get one of us when someone is at the door. The dog alerts me, so I grab a pen and paper and head to the front door, prepared for a tedious and frustrating encounter with a new neighbor. I open the door, and there’s a pair of men standing there. One of them starts to speak, and I quickly motion that I am Deaf. I start to write on the paper, but he waves his hand to get my attention again.)

Man: *in sign language* “Do you sign?”

(I’m momentarily stunned, as I am not used to meeting random people who sign. Then, I am elated. The rest of this conversation takes place in American Sign Language.)

Me: “Yes!”

Man: “I’m [Man], and this is my husband, [Husband].”

(He shows me their name signs, special signs that are used to identify people without having to fingerspell their full name. Name signs are only given by Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing people to others who are involved with the Deaf/HoH community.)

Man: “We live across the street and wanted to say welcome!”

Me: “Thank you! I’m [My Name].” *I show them my name sign* “It’s so nice to meet you. And you sign!”

Man: “Yes, our son is Deaf. Our family signs, and some of the other neighbors do, too.”

(He points them out to me — his sister, and two close friends of his family. At this point, I am almost jumping up and down with happiness. They invite my wife and me over for dinner later, where we meet their children and the aforementioned neighbors. That was 13 years ago, and that group of people are like family to us now. Every day I think about how lucky I am to have these wonderful people in my life.)

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