I fear my neighbors. They are mostly crazy, eccentric, odd, and possibly a bit vengeful. We bought and moved into this house a little over a year ago. We were so happy because it is “out in the country” and has trees and space, and room for kids, dogs, and playground equipment. We were ready to start a life full of chaos and hoped to recreate a tiny part of our childhoods for our offspring to enjoy. We imagined gardens, deer watching, and games of tag. We envisioned chickens, goats and rabbits. We thought we had found a tiny slice of paradise that we could call our home.
Then, we met the neighbors. I swear sometimes I feel like I have been thrust into a bad remake of Deliverance mixed with a few episodes of Law & Order, Cops, and a lot of old, miserable, cranky people. I wish I were exaggerating, but sadly I am not.
Shortly after moving in, neighbor A shows up with a bottle of wine as a house warming gift. Two days later she pops in and demands that we take over getting the dirt road we live on repaired on a yearly basis. We must collect money from all of the other neighbors. Neighbors who do not want the road repaired and do not want to pay any money for it. We find this out later, but I’ll get to that in a moment.
Then, Neighbor B shows up and says his dogs like to roam our property, always have and always will, and that we should accept this and be happy. He neglects to mention that his dogs like to bite people and other dogs. Oh, and they also murder cats in their spare time. So, for the past year neighbor B has knocked at the door repeatedly to ask us if our cat is missing because he found a dead cat in his yard. We tell him over and over again that our cats don’t go outside, but he doesn’t listen. On Christmas morning, while Tiny-Small was opening her presents, we had a dead cat inquiry at 9 am. I’m serious. He’s obsessed and creepily smiley while he waits to find out if it is in fact our dead pet, that he has in a box somewhere, waiting to be claimed. Also, his dogs have come into our yard and bitten our dogs five times. Yes, it has been a wonderfully expensive year, full of dead cats, vet bills, and nonstop antagonism.
One day neighbor C knocks on the door and says, “Hi. I killed your dog.” I just stare at him in disbelief and say, “What?!” He repeats, “I killed your dog.” All I hear is a dumbed down version of that character from Slingblade saying “Mmmm…biscuits and mustard.” I go outside and stare at him some more. He says, “I ran her over. Snapped her neck. She’s dead. I killed her.” He then picks my lovely little dog up out of the back of his truck, by her legs (like a hunter showing off his trophy) and hands her to me, “Now your husband can give her a proper burial,” he tells me before getting back into his truck. “By the way, watch out for neighbor B’s dogs. They are mean. That’s what I stopped by to tell you. Sorry I killed your dog,” he says before driving away. I cried and cried. Then I took a shower because being around that guy was like being in the presence of evil. It was creepy. Who talks like that? Mad men and psychopaths.
Finally, the time comes when my husband has to collect money for the road repair. He goes from door to door, but when he gets to neighbor C’s house all hell breaks loose. Neighbor C calls the police on my husband for knocking on his door. We know this because shortly after knocking, the police arrive at our house to tell us we are not allowed to go on neighbor C’s property and that we are never to knock on his door again. Neighbor C does not want to pay for the road to be fixed. Neighbor C has a restraining order against neighbor A because neighbor A asked him for money for the road last year. Now we dislike neighbor A, neighbor B, and neighbor C. Our lawyer instructs us not to open the door when they come knocking and to have as little contact as possible with all three of them.
But, then neighbor D shows up. Neighbor D is angry because he has dust on his car. He’s never had dust on his car until we moved in so we must be responsible for the dust. He questions us about what we are doing over here, where do we work, are we making chemicals? He wants to know why he has dust on his car. We have three acres of land so there is quite a distance between our two houses. I have no idea why he has dust on his car. We live in New Mexico. I thought everyone had dust on their car. I write a letter to him and explain that I have been doing some gardening and it has been windy. Could that be causing the dust he is finding? Then, remarkably, neighbor D comes back to apologize for giving us a hard time. We decide to not open the door the next time he comes anyway because who complains about dust? We decide to have as little contact as possible. We’re all about self preservation at this point.
We are surrounded by the unstable, the cranky, and the bored. I fear my neighbors. If I had enough money I would build a fence and wall-in my property. I would have a gate with a buzzer so only non-neighbors could be let in (people who don’t drive up your driveway and run over your dog and leave with a smile and a wave). I would shut them out and build a new road so I could exit the neighborhood without having to pass by them on the broken down driveway we call a road. I’d pretend the next neighborhood over was mine. The one where all the “normal” people live. I seriously fear my neighbors. They are bad news. They keep me up at night. I am waiting for them to strike again.