Monday, September 11, 2006

I am kind of wary of neighbors, in general.

I'm going to go all psychological on you and say it relates to my childhood. Growing up, we lived next door to a family. Let's call them the Burkes. I remember them being seemingly nice people up until I was in the 4th grade. There was some kind of dispute over some trees growing in between our driveway and the Burke's driveway. The Burke's wanted to cut them down and my parents did not since they were kind of a nice divider in between the properties and they were beautiful trees. My family had already planned a trip down the Cape for a few weeks so my parents and the Burkes decided that when they returned, they would have a property assessor come and draw in the actual property line.

So we were all a bit surprised when we returned from the Cape a few weeks later and the trees were gone. I guess they didn't want to wait. And when the property assessor came he deduced that the (now long gone) trees WERE in fact on my parent's side by a few feet.

Isn't that nice?

My parents didn't feel they had much recourse other than to dislike the Burkes, and to call them the Bunyans behind their backs. (Get it? Like Paul Bunyan?)

And the Bunyan's idiocy continued. Once when my parents were in Europe my brother had a party and the police ended up coming. It was no big thing since the police in my town tended to have not much else to do than break up parties on weekend nights. I told my brother that I wouldn't mention it to my mom, but the Burke/Bunyans decided to cut out the announcement from the police blotter in the local newspaper, highlight the address, and save it for 2 weeks so they could put it in my parents' mailbox when they returned.

And then there was the time they tried to sue my parents' for having the paint stripped off their house because they thought it was lead paint and what if their kids picked up paint chips and put it in their mouths. Did I mention their kids at the time were 12 and 14? If your 12 year old picks up paint off the ground and eats them, then you got bigger problems than lead paint.

So as I see it, I am wary of my neighbors. To me they are people that have the potential to cause trouble for me, and not much else. I know this probably reinforces ideas people have about snotty New Englanders but it's not snottiness at all, it is desire for non-drama. If I don't get into anything with them then they can't get anything with me.

And we all know what kind of interaction we have had with neighbors at our new place thus far.

So imagine our surprise when, at 5PM yesterday there was a knock on the back door. I paused from making my apple-onion chutney and opened the door. There was an impossibly tall young man saying to me "Well hey there. I am your new neighor Shawn! I just moved in across the hall and I wanted to introduce myself!".

Adam appeared next to me and we were both like "???". I hastily thrust out my hand and introduced myself as Adam did the same. We learned that he was from the midwest (of course! who is this friendly around here?), plays guitar, had just moved in and this was his first time in the Boston area.

In all my years of living in apartments and having people move in and out, no one has ever done this simple thing of coming to the door and introducing themselves.

It was kind of shocking, in the nicest way.

When he left we were kind of like "Is it weird that we are shocked!?". Maybe it is. But I believe we covered our shock quite nicely and were welcoming and friendly.

And then, in case poor Shawn got the impression that we were normal, we had the following exchange in the open hallway as Adam left for hockey practice

Me: When you come back, you better put your dirty hockey stuff in the spare room and NOT in the living room.
Adam: How about I put it up your @&*?

Nice, right?

So I think this Shawn is in for it with us. I have never had a neighbor-friend before and we are actually quite into the idea. I plan on bringing him some of the apple cake I made last night, and Adam is asking him over for a beer later in the week.

Let's just hope he doesn't turn out to be Bunyan.

Or that WE don't turn out to be Bunyans!


Nicky said...

Shoving hockey equipment up your @$$...Haha! The snippy comments that couples make to each other are kind of funny. It doesn't necessairly mean anything serious to you, but you wouldn't want someone off the street hearing the way you talk to each other.
When PJ and I were meeting with the photographer for our wedding, the photographer turned his back and went into a closet for half a minute to look for an album to show us. In the meantime, PJ started drumming all over the table top, etc. I was like, "Stop it." His reply? "No. Screw you!" Photographer was NOT out of earshot. Ah, the loving soon-to-be-married couple in an affectionate display. :oP I can just imagine what our photographer thought.

Mr. & Mrs. Cappella said...

S, your parents were pretty nice to give them the nickname "bunyans". What d-bags!

Anonymous said...

Midwest?!? Awwww...I'm from the Midwest! I hope your neighbor-friend situation turns out nicely. That is a pretty uncommon level of friendliness in this day and age.

Sarah said...

aw! midwestern people are the nicest, everyone agrees.

Where Productivity Goes to Die said...

We had similar bad neighbors - the kids next door were evil - one stole money from my brother, one is most likely a serial killer now, and the girl was morbidly obese and compensated by calling everyone else fat. The parents were also jerks. But they had a big screen TV and "The Making of Thriller" on Beta, so they were still the most popular people on our street. Gotta love the 80's.

Where Productivity Goes to Die said...

Added comment - I'm from the midwest, and I'm wary of anyone who is friendly just for the sake of friendliness. Maybe I'm a New Englander at heart?

Sarah said...

ha! wariness of friendly people is definitely a NE trait. especially if you live in the Boston area!

rooroo said...

my parents have always complained about sh!++y btree neighbors. we have had too many problems with all of them to even get into it. my parents are both from dorchester neighborhoods where everyone knows your name and the whole street hung out together and everything, and they have been so disappointed since we first moved there that the neighbors were not like that here... and besides, people are so paranoid and defensive and litigation-happy these days! i think shawn has it right though--when/if i move again i am definitely gonna introduce myself to the neighbors. having a relationship with them makes life so much easier.

kim said...

OMG hockey gear smells the worst EVER. my friends bf plays hockey and when they still lived here i got the please of walking into the basement where he stored his gear once. seriously, i have never before and since smelled anything as bad before. the gloves? you could kill someone by putting their nose in one of them, i swear. yuck.

so i take it the spare room is not set up nicely for guests or something, yet? :D

kim said...

i meant to say "i got the pleasure", not "the please" but that's probably wrong english, too so... oh well...

Sarah said...

pleasure is absolutely right!. and you are so right about hockey gear, it is that nastiest shizz ever. He only needs to "dry it out" for 24 hours after he plays so its nice to have the spare room for that rather than the living room like it used to be. ick! but when (yes, i mean WHEN) you and sannie come then the room will be spic and span, with no nasty hockey gear in sight (or smell!) :-P

ka-rista said...

HAHA! That reminds me of the time my ex went over to talk to our young neighbors. They were token it up at all hours and it was wafting into our living room. So Kyle politely explained to them that he was a prison guard and couldnt be smelling like dope and then asked them if they would put a towel under their door. A few days later she came over with brownies to welcome me into the building. I was shocked....and afraid the brownies might be laced with shenanigans!

AmyD said...

I LOVE this post. Neighbors, to me, were always great growing up, and then my opinion of them changed as I moved to different apartments throughout the college years, etc. I had the yelling man, the nosy granny, the crazy, drug-addicted loud music players, the no-speaka-no-English and have little boy who stomps all day and has no arranged bedtime, and those were just at my LAST place! ;o) So, you can imagine my surprise when on Sunday, two days after moving into our new house, our neighbors down on the corner came over to introduce themselves and let us know we could use their riding lawnmower for our huge yard, since they had been watching C.L. mow it for 2 hours with a push-mower. I was all, "Uh, what's the catch?..." But there was none. Yay us, and yay to you for finally having a friendly one in your building. We midwesterners ARE awfully lovable, if I do say so myself. Ha!

Glad your enjoying your place (even if it smells like stinky hockey equipment)! :o)

san said...

oh oh... this was an invitation up there... sarah said "WHEN kim and sannie come"... yay! let's plan something :)

btw, this is a really nice neighbor that you have there indeed :)