Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Curmudgeon

This morning a rumpled woman showed up on my doorstep in her pajamas and satin eye-cover thing to tell me that she works nights and my dogs were bothering her, so could I keep them inside until around 11am each day?

From this request, you would think that a) I might actually know who this woman was, b) that we've had conversations before, and c) that it was probably pretty early in the morning. You might also think that they had been barking constantly for quite a time, and on many occasions, and that this person was, um, old.

In fact, it was 9am, I had no idea who she was until she told me that her bedroom window is near our back porch, making her our next-door neighbor (which makes her window probably at least five yards away), and I've never had a conversation with her in my life! The dogs had been out maybe fifteen minutes, and one had just started whining to come in a few minutes before she came over. I *never* allow them to bark for long periods of time. I hate people who do that, and I'm anal about not allowing it.

I tried to have a relationship with this woman and her husband, who I'm guessing are in their mid-twenties, when we first moved in, introducing myself from my backyard when they were in their yard, calling 'hello' occasionally. No dice - they treated me like a leper. So, I stopped talking to them, but it's been a comfortable silence, I think. Our kids stay our of their yard, we all keep our lawns mowed, and time passes.

So, this morning when this rumpled, annoyed creature showed up on my doorstep, I honestly thought at first that it was some teenager who had gotten locked out of her house! Once I finally figured out who it was, I started to get mad. I mean, really. There was no 'hello', no 'sorry to bother you', no introduction, nothing. I was shocked, first of all, that she was complaining, since it was well past the 'too-early-for-noise' time, and all the normal neighborhood noises were also going on, like trash collection, kids on bikes, etc. Also, who does she think she is? Dogs cannot stay inside until 11am!!! I mean, can she hold HER pee until 11am? I don't think so.

It's not that I don't understand people who need to sleep during the day; my mother always has worked nights, and she was also unreasonable about her expectations of people in regards to noise (she expected to be able to sleep at any time of day with the windows open and not be disturbed - this never happened because we lived in an apartment complex, so she was mad a lot, but it was her own fault). Life cannot stop just because some people may or may not be working a different shift. I'm sure there are probably several people in the neighborhood who work nights, and there hasn't been a riot yet over daytime noise. I would not have minded had she approached me in a nice way, and maybe told me who she was before starting to complain! She used the rudest tone of voice, like it is totally unreasonable of me to allow the dogs outside. (They have dogs themselves, these yappy little pomeranians that are only allowed outside once in a blue moon, and no kids.)

So, I told her that no, I can't not let them out until 11am, and that I couldn't even let them in right then because I had a child over to play who was allergic to them (the truth), but that I could go out and sit with them and they probably wouldn't bark if I did that. To be honest, I have no plans to alter my habits at all. We've been in the process of training Baci not to bark when he wants to come in, actually, but part of that is not letting him in if he barks, since that teaches him to bark more if he's not let in when he wants in (which is anytime I'm not with him, really). So, she's going to have to put up with it for a little while, and maybe buy some damn earplugs! No, I didn't actually SAY that part, although I DID slam the door when she turned to leave. Am I proud of that? No, but... it sure felt great!

Like I said, had she come over and been nice about it, or had I been behaving in a completely unreasonable manner, then I wouldn't be stewing over it. As it stands, though, I want to get up extra-early tomorrow morning, get the dogs all riled up, and start mowing the lawn. The last thing I want is a bad relationship with neighbors, but I also don't want to set a precident of her tromping over here whenever she wants and making demands. So, I will continue to work on training the dogs not to bark at the door, and she can get herself some damn earplugs. Or, alternatively, I can smack her really hard upside her head the next time she stomps over, and maybe she'll go deaf.

6 comments:

d e v a n said...

haha! You should have told her to buy a noise machine.
Seriously, who could keep their dogs in until 11AM?!
And - when you're asking for something - being polite and sweet and neighborly is a plus. Something she clearly doesn't understand...

Kristin.... said...

People are stupid. Plain and simple. Good lord.

Erin said...

I feel for you. We had a recent bad-neighbor experience (which I briefly documented at my super secret C2 blog) which escalated to them calling the police on our other (very nice, very normal) neighbors on the 4th of July because the kiddos were doing snap-pops in the street at 4pm (which are TOTALLY LEGAL where we live). Ooooh! I still can't hardly talk about it without feeling all hot in the face.

Creative Kerfuffle said...

"Or, alternatively, I can smack her really hard upside her head the next time she stomps over, and maybe she'll go deaf."--ok, i almost choked on my gum laughing at that! what a bitchy neighbor. i say slap her : )

Susiewearsthepants said...

TTTAAAWWWAAAANNNNNDDDAAA!!!!!!! If she comes over again, ask HER if she can not knock on your door while you are plotting world domination, as it is distracting. Or make some other equally ridiculous request of HER. She obviously failed charm school.

Sherry said...

I have to agree with creative kerfuffle.
"Or, alternatively, I can smack her really hard upside her head the next time she stomps over, and maybe she'll go deaf." was absolutely brilliant.