Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Let me be perfectly clear, I’ve always considered myself a good neighbor. I don’t have loud parties that go on until the wee hours of the morning. I don’t leave trash and cigarette butts all over my neighbor’s lawn. I don’t hire contractors who use my neighbor’s yard as a dumping ground. And, if Skittles leaves a deposit on somebody’s grass, I clean it up immediately. I will admit to letting Mother Nature send my leaves onto my neighbors lawns from time to time, but that’s about it. In short, I have always tried to live by the motto, “Live, and Let Live”. That said, I get on well with all of my neighbors, save one. And of course, he lives next door. Thus illustrating the phrase, “You can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your neighbors.”

Many years ago, my nightmare neighbor, who I will call Bob, moved in next door. He seemed like a nice enough young guy at the time. We would always stop and talk whenever we saw each other. However, Bob had the annoying habit of smoking in his driveway, then flicking his butts on my lawn. I have asked nicely, on more than one occasion, for him to use an ashtray. I even provided a Folgers can for this purpose. However, he ignored my requests and the butts continued flying. As his drinking became worse and worse, he would come home late from the bar, let his dog out for a pee, then pass out on the couch. This left the poor animal to freeze and bark for hours to be let in. In more recent years, he and his bar buddies have had late night garage parties that have carried on until the wee hours of the morning. Of course, this all goes on right next to our bedroom window.

Last summer, my Cold War with Bob heated up. He had done a lot of work on his house over the summer, including having his brick driveway power-washed. This resulted in the gravel bed from his driveway being sprayed all over my lawn. As I was cutting my grass one day, I had the audacity to turn my mower around on his driveway (not leaving any grass tracks). This caused Bob to launch into a drunken tirade and I found myself screaming back at him. This is very unlike me, but I was unleashing all of my frustration with his bad behavior over the years. That was the last time we spoke. However, in an effort to be the bigger man, I am going to reach out to him the next time I see him. If my apology is rebuffed, I will wait for his next drunken garage party, then unleash the boys in blue. I sincerely hope it doesn’t come to that, but enough is enough. Even Mr. Rogers would have a problem with this guy. So what’s it gonna be, Bob? Won’t you be my (good) neighbor?

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