Love Thy Neighbor – Like Thy Neighbor
As I left my house last night to walk a short 10 blocks into town to hustle up some dinner I noticed some people in black outfits in my driveway. Mind you I live in a fishbowl where houses literally touch each other and you get woken up by your neighbor playing PS2-Box, doing jazzercise or snoring. The beach is across the street so we tolerate the coziness … more on that later. As I get closer I see that these black dressed people are actually caterers unloading a car. I get a little closer and I see that my neighbor is hosting a fancy catered dinner on his patio, a mere 10 feet from my house. My first thought – Where was my invitation?! I’m a good neighbor. I probably would not have gone but I would have liked to have been invited. How dare they?! Rude.
After all, last week I hosted a holiday party at a boutique hotel in town and left an invitation on their door step. It was the day before, but it still counts as an official invitation! After a few more blocks of walking and thinking I came to the conclusion that this is the way neighbor relations are supposed to go down.
How To Handle and Nurture Relationships With Your Neighbors
I’ve always said that I don’t have time for neighbors. When I’m leaving the house I am often in a hurry. When I am coming home I have to go to the bathroom or need to pour some bourbon. I have no time or desire to talk about trash pickup or the two clouds in the sky, or the Bed Bath & Beyond flyer that floated over the property line. Therefore it always takes me longer than most to get to know my neighbors. For the most part I am fine with that.
What works against the friendly neighbor is that you only see them when they are at the foot of your driveway. They may be the coolest people but just like relationships, timing is everything. They are like the tree huggers that stand outside Whole Foods asking you to sign petitions. Let me come bother you on your lunch break and see if you feel like listening to my monologue about biodiversity and its socio-economic impact on nature conservation.
You need to nurture some sort of relationship with you neighbors, if for no other reason than Homeland Security! I mean home security. You and your least annoying neighbor should have each other’s phone number for emergencies. Just recently a friend of mine went to work and had to leave in the afternoon because her entire apartment was on fire, with her dog Sophie trapped inside. Her neighbor called her. See the ABC news video here.
Having your neighbor’s phone number is a requirement as a neighbor. You have a responsibility to be part of the community, even Buffalo Bob did this much. It’s much better in the text era; you don’t have to talk to them, just text. This comes in handy when you need a parking spot, or maybe one cigarette (and only one), or perhaps you have a psychotic ex-girlfriend who is ransacking your place while you are at work – hypothetically of course. Having contact info for one neighbor is a requirement for societal living and it just might save your ass one day.
The flip side is getting too close with your neighbors. You get that person who constantly invites you to lame dinner parties on odd nights, like Mondays when you just want to soak into your couch with a tall glass of detox and quiet. Then they get mad at you for not showing up and keep reminding you of it every time you see them. Before you know it you are parking a block away and using the “service entrance” as your main point of entry into your home. Being friendly does not require that you actually become friends.
Another reason to avoid holding hands and singing Kumbaya with your neighbors is that they might piss you off one day and you need to have a “Come To Jesus” chat. Say your neighbor gives you grief about coming home one night at 2am and plugging in your amp for a little late night jam session. Giving you grief about that is fine, as long as they don’t have a 6 month renovation project that starts every morning at 7am! I wake you up at 2am one night, and you wake me up at 7am every damn morning for the last 4 months. Zip it Bernard, or come over with your rhythm sticks and join the jam session.
The point is that it’s much more difficult to be stern with your neighbor when you are constantly breaking bread and drinking wine on his patio. Having a little privacy is also beneficial. Be friendly, but not friends. You don’t have to love thy neighbor as the bible says, but you should try to like thy neighbor, at least that is what The Rugged Male tries to do.
Thanks For Reading !