We live in a small riverside cul-de-sac - 6 houses. The neighbours directly behind us are fine - we say “Hi” if they happen to be doing yardwork at the same time as us. The neighbours to one side have “adult” children living at home (more child than adult) and on Friday and Saturday nights we are assailed with the “whomp, whomp, whomp” of the bass in several car stereos parked in their driveway. There have been a couple of incidents where we have called the police and a tow truck to deal with the aftermath of one of these gatherings that ended up in our front yard.
The neighbour from hell lives directly across the lane. She is Hyacinth Bucket on steroids. We cannot make a move without it being commented upon, loudly, at full screech from across the laneway. I have literally hidden in the produce aisle at the grocery store to avoid her; she will buttonhole you and rabbit on forever about the other neighbours and their doings. I dread the day that we put up the “For Sale” sign because she will take it as an invitation to trawl through the house (she has hinted numerous times that she would love to drop by for coffee).
Not in this lifetime.
We had two really crappy neighbors at our old place. One next door was an angry divorced guy who’s wife had fled, daughter never visited and he hated women. He nearly hit my 18 month old child and her 68 year old black nanny with his car, then told me until I trimmed this tiny bush growing by the fence that my family were legitimate targets for violence. I put him on the ground for that. Cost me $8,000 and worth every penny.
Across the street some parents let their jr. high and then h.s. kid have booze and pot parties. Not that I haven’t partaken but these kids would stagger around the block that evening and then next morning, get in their cars and speed off. Then when their friends started vandalizing their cars they blamed us since it happened long after we’d gone to bed but on our side of the street. They covered my wife’s brand new car with paint remover and lit it on fire. I had to spend $5,500 on a video surveliance system, which then caught their schoolmates vandalizing them on tape.
In short, two completely fucked neighbors.
So we moved and for the most part we’re surrounded with absolutely fantastic neighbors now. We’re at least casual friends with everyone up one side and down the other and have actually become very close to a few of them (with the exception of one house down the street, again irresponsible parents with teens that have bad friends.) The guy across the street has become one of my closest friends and we hunt and do stuff together all the time. We have block parties, watch each other’s homes when we’re gone, share bottles of scotch, bring food when someone’s sick. Heck I gave one neighbor my $600 pool sweeper since I wasn’t using it. We’re very blessed now, seriously, a HUGE improvement. Good neighbors are worth their weight in gold.
I have great neighbors. My next door neighbor is about 1/3 of a mile away, so I don’t see or hear much of them, but we’re there if the other needs anything. I feed their dogs and goats when they go on vacation. Before I painted my house last year I asked their opinion about the color, since they’d have to look at it as much as I would.
My neighbor called me when I was on my way to work a few weeks ago. Two of my dogs had slipped out of the yard (the wind had blown open a gate that wasn’t latched). I thanked him and told him I’d turn around and get them. He chased them down for me instead and put them back in my yard. Kept me from being an hour late to work.
On the flip side, one dark night I’m driving home and the neighbor calls me. “Are you home yet?” Nope, on the way. What can I do? His tractor had died in the gate to one of his goat paddocks and he needed me to drive my tractor over there to pull his out. Working by flashlight in the dark we got his tractor started and moved out of the gate.
We live in a rowhouse, so if we and our neighbors are on our porches, we’re about 12 feet apart. I know most of my immediate neighbors and people mostly look out for one another. There have been an influx of new people in the neighborhood lately who don’t seem to want to be neighborly or really interact with other people. It’s kind of strange they would move into the city if that’s the way the want to live.
I’m on smile-and-wave terms with my neighbors. I’d have a hard time calling any of them by name. A lot of the neighborhood socializing is kid-focused, and I don’t have kids, so I mostly don’t get involved (and if I did, it would probably be by teaching the kids to sword-fight or playing video games with them, not drinking with the parents). Every now and then, one of them stops by when I have the garage doors open, to look at my project car and chat a bit.
I assume most of them think I’m a little weird, if they think of me at all. That’s fine with me, though they’re probably underestimating my weirdness.
When I was a kid, we knew our neighbors very well and socialized/helped each other out all the time. It seems to happen that way more when you’re way off in the sticks, and there’s only one other family within miles. If you need help, they may be your only shot at it, so it makes sense to be on good terms with them if you can. It’s easier to be isolated in a city.