Thursday, November 08, 2007

Good Neighbors

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming for a rant.

When we moved into our new house this spring the yard, both front and back, had something of a junglelike quality to it. According to our next door neighbor, henceforth known as Gladys Kravitz, the landscaping had been originally done by a former owner who was quite the expert in Japanese gardening, but more recent owners hadn’t kept the property up like it should have been. I’m sure Gladys had an underlying unspoken message in there about how she expected us to do better. Although we had every intention of cleaning things up I remained noncommittal to Gladys.

Being a rather large yard, we decided to tackle it in small chunks, not because we were doing the work ourselves but rather because we had the expense of hiring someone younger and stronger than ourselves to do it. Throughout the summer progress was made, flower beds weeded, random baby trees uprooted, mowing and trimming attended to on a regular basis. Things are starting to look better.

We come to today. The landscaping folk are here, in the yard, removing two low lying shrubberies that through the years have become rangy and bedraggled looking. These particular shrubberies, while in our yard, have provided a small amount of privacy between our yard and Gladys’ yard. Gladys burst from her house this morning as the workers began and questioned W extensively, advising him that taking out these shrubberies would leave her yard and ours exposed to one another. HORRORS! W informed her that we didn’t mind a bit losing the small amount of privacy afforded by the shrubberies as they were unattractive and due to lack of previous care had spread spindly branches hither and yon and took up too much room in our back yard. Gladys insisted that we must replace them with something to restore privacy, perhaps a fence. W informed her that we didn’t need a fence, but if she desired to put one on her property that would be fine. Eventually she huffed off into her house.

As the workers were removing the shrubs they found an offshoot that had grown over onto Gladys’ property and had taken root there. They left it for her. It is after all on her property, and since she likes the damned things so much she can have it.

I know there are a lot of people who value their privacy, who want to have no prying eyes on them or their property. I happen to not be one of them. I like open views. I like cutting across backyards. Sorry to those of you who want me to stay off your grass. Feel free to cut across my yard anytime you’d like. Feel free to watch me as I do things in my yard if you’d like. I probably won’t waste my time watching you, but I might look over and acknowledge you occasionally, perhaps even smiling and saying hello. If you want your privacy, put shrubberies in your yard or build a fence or whatever, but don’t tell me I have to keep shrubberies on my property to accommodate you. Ain’t happenin’ Gladys. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever.

And how does this rant belong in my deepest, darkest thoughts? Well, let’s just say that if it were as easy as twitching my nose, dear old Gladys wouldn’t be a problem to anyone anymore.


Desmond Jones said...

Gee, TS, you are really dating yourself with the 'Gladys Kravitz' bit; how many of your readers, do you suppose, will imagine that she's Lenny's mom? (Heck, until you mentioned twitching your nose, I was having a hard time remembering what show it was from, altho I knew exactly who you were talking about).

When we bought our current house, the neighbors on both sides were friends of ours (which was one of the reasons we bought the house). Before we even moved in, they took out the fences that divided our back yard from theirs, so now all our kids have three adjoining back yards to play in. I was incredibly touched by that. . .

And, conversely, in the house we owned before that, one of our neighbors was, how shall I say it - a junk collector. He was a great guy, and poor as dirt, and the yard sales he held just about every summer weekend formed a large part of his livelihood, so nobody wanted to turn him in to the city, or anything. But, when we finally decided to move, we had to put up a fence, because his yard next door was, um, a visual negative. . .

Sulpicia said...

Amen, sistah. Neighbours! I know all our new neighbours have been glaring at us and our yard from behind their curtains and muttering about my dismal efforts regarding said yard. Tough. We live on the freaking tundra! Woo. You have awoken my must-we-have-neighbours monster.

The Silent Male said...

My next house, I am looking for something that isn't so close to people.

freebird said...

I'm sorry to say we have a 'Gladys' too, but don't tell any prospective buyers! Nah, she's fine if you keep on the right side of the old bat!

Trueself said...

Des - I'm old, what can I say? I'm so old that it took me a couple of minutes to get who Lenny is. Shameful I know. Sounds like you have very cool neighbors.

Sulpicia - I go by a very live-and-let-live philosophy. I don't care what the neighbors do on their property as long as it doesn't harm me. I've only rarely ever been bugged enough to complain to neighbors though I did when the noise from garage band practice was consistently keeping me from sleeping late at night. Otherwise, I'm pretty good with whatever you want to do next door or across the street.

SM - A rural thing perhaps?

FB - Almost seems as though every neighborhood is destined to have at least one Gladys. I promise not to tell prospective buyers about yours.