I have moved a lot in my lifetime, and I have had more than my share of bad luck with neighbors, always seeming to land next door to partiers, screamers, fighters, and music-blasters. I have never tolerated it quietly, and therefore have ended up not on particularly good terms with most of my neighbors. To me, home is where you relax, unwind, leave the rest of the world outside until business hours the following day…not where the walls vibrate from the neighbor’s crappy music.
I’ve come to accept that until I find my dream home with mile upon mile of open fields and not a neighbor in sight, then I will have to battle the idiots who unfortunately inhabit space near me. At the top of my list of my worst neighbors are: a man passionately in love with his 3-wheeler who delighted, redneck fashion, in patterning doughnuts in his front yard while whooping at the top of his lungs to impress his 500-pound wife and mullet-wearing son; a man whose entire screened-in patio was crammed with a massive stereo and sprawling speakers large enough to ensure that our entire house shook when he cranked up his hip-hop; and a woman who played music so loud that she couldn’t hear me knocking on her door when I came upstairs to politely request (okay, to irritably demand) that she turn it waaaaay down, then instructed me to keep my voice down or else I would wake the baby. (Believe me, no baby or any other living being with ear drums was sleeping within a several mile radius.)
After fools like this, I couldn’t believe it when we moved where we are now. No shaking walls? No calls to the cops? What is this? Peace and quiet, and neighbors who respect our space? What a magnificent change of pace!
Months ago, one of these neighbors, who loves cats and therefore earned a spot high in my book, became unable to work due to illness. She doesn’t talk much about it, and Gary and I haven’t asked, since it is her private business. We take her trash out for her and other random tasks to help her out, and she lends the kids movies to watch and lets us play with her 30-pound butterball of a cat, so it was definitely a better deal for us, in my opinion!
She hardly goes to the store without asking if we need anything, and when I was afraid we were too loud with all of our carrying on and laughing and playing when the kids are home, she told us she enjoys hearing them laugh, and that it makes her smile.
Recently she told us that after living in this same apartment for over 20 years, she will be moving out. She is receiving no income, no assistance, no disability benefits. In the meantime, rent and bills are still due, so she is packing up and moving in with family.
I stopped by to talk with her yesterday, and some furniture is gone already. Boxes are scattered about, and she was talking about finding someone to take in her cats, since she can’t take them with her.
I felt so sad. She is truly a good person, kind and generous, respectful, the best neighbor we have ever had, hands down. I researched resources for her and brought her phone numbers, names, and websites, but it is apparently too late. I wish I would have known sooner that she was struggling with this.
She has a son older than me, so she has been working for years and years, with plentiful taxes yanked out of each and every paycheck, but when it is her time to urgently need some of that assistance…she is told no? Or, as it appears, to be placed on hold for months, in limbo, with a shrug, a maybe, and a we don’t really care, we just work here?
I can’t help but be ferociously angry about this. With all the no-good assholes in this world, why do bad things always seem to happen to genuinely good people who deserve better?