June 8, 2011

Neighborly Love

"The endless chatter of this journey had wearied me." 


Remember when I complained about a certain elderly neighbor and his loudness?

The noise part is mostly fixed. The new problem may be much, much worse.

It started with the notes. This man likes to type out notes on his computer, and tape them to our door. Never mind the fact that many days, the only time the door is opened is when Sky leaves and returns from work. I'm not sure why knocking was not an option for him, but we happened to find a note one day. It asked if I would be available that day to put some bandages on his back, where he was unable to reach. My first thought was that putting bandages on a stranger would not be my ideal way to spend my time. My second thought was that he's an older man and must not have many people in his life if he's asking a neighbor he doesn't know. (And my third thought, for the record, was that my mom is a nurse, and if she could see much worse, surely I could handle this.)

I can't say I enjoyed it, but I helped him out and thought that was the end of it. A few days later, he had the same request. This time, Sky was not at home, making me a bit uncomfortable. The neighbor was sufficiently bandaged when he proceeded to give me a 2 hour account of how, through a series of mistakes, he was the inventor of Bud Select beer. I smiled and half-listened, while trying to keep Millie occupied as he talked. There seemed to be some cognitive issues during this conversation, but I patiently waited it out until the end.

But it was not the end.

The next day, I walked to the mailbox with Millie. He somehow appeared the second I went outside. A couple days later, I was cleaning out our car. While sweating and moving from seat to seat, I was subjected to a tirade on the dangers of motorcycles. A couple weeks ago, Sky stood in our backyard, watching the clouds swirl into an evening storm. He was immediately joined by you-know-who. After that night, he rang the doorbell and Millie immediately began to cry- I was too worried (i.e., mad) about trying to settle her back to sleep to get around to answering it after that. He happens to fill up his bird feeders at the exact moment I take Millie out to the baby pool. And on my dad and sister's birthdays, which we celebrated at my house, he was knocking at both my front and back doors at least four times that day, including the time he dropped off a case of Bud Select for me to try. Sky and other family members have dubbed him 'my boyfriend'.

I think of myself as a nice person. Sky often tells me I care too much. I have a soft heart, too soft at times.

But Lord, have mercy.

How do you politely tell someone to leave you in peace? I started off having sympathy for this man, but I'm afraid to walk outside or leave the blinds open for fear that I'll be drawn into a never ending conversation. And while Millie is too young to understand it yet, the words he often uses are not things I want said around my daughter. Mostly, though, I starting to be a little creeped out by Mr. Next Door.

Maybe this is why people live in the country.

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10 kind comments from you:

Kerry said...

Oooh that is a tad strange. Maybe he is lonely? But still, be careful I guess :(

Steph said...

Oh my! I'd make your husband take care of it. ;)

vintch said...

oh such a sticky situation. i have found myself in quite the same predicament. we live near a little hometown gas station, where old men like to sit and chew the fat all day. on sundays, we stop in for a cheerwine slushie, and there is one man who just wants to chat, and kiss me on the cheek, and waste away the day talking to me. meanwhile, pablo's in the car and we've got.to.go. sometimes you've just gotta say, "well i've got to run, but it was great seeing you." i do agree there is definitely some loneliness there, which makes my heart sad.

Dr. Army Wife said...

Awwww this is a very classic lonely elderly man.
It can definitely be irritating and I'm not sure what the solution is, but just keep in mind that this is probably the source of it. It makes me sad.

Mrs. H said...

Find a sweet old woman in the park who's not married?
introduce him to e-harmony?
Just throwing out ideas :D

beka said...

whoa.
ummmm.....
that's so strange!
i mean, you're beautiful; soft-hearted, probably a lovely candidate for a listening ear.........

he kinda sounds like a creeper, dear.
i don't know what you can do......you have to be able to go on with your life, but then he gets in the way! urgh!
i'm stumped. sorry. :\
just know i'm sorry you have a creepy friend.
hugs! (and a cup of chilled yummy tea:)

beka said...

okay so he might be a classic lonely older man like Dr Army Wife said; it's just my take on it. because what? 4 times a day knocking on your door? can't he find a scrabble club to join or SOMETHING?

____j said...

I've been told that I am too nice sometimes, too. I mean, it was good of you to help him when he was in need, but all this other is a little ridiculous. There is a chance that he's lonely, but he HAS to realize that you're a young woman with a family of her own. You don't have time to entertain someone you don't even know. He's probably sitting by the window waiting for you to make a move. Maybe you could take a page out of his book and leave a note on his door? Or just say Hey, I don't mind helping someone in need but I'm busy with my daughter. I don't know. But good luck with this situation!

Alice said...

That sucks, dude. Which is pretty much all I have to say, as I have no useful advice for this sort of situation. I'd probably do what you're doing and hole up, but Strictly Ballroom says 'A life lived in fear is a life half-lived.' Which can also probably translate to 'A life spent avoiding annoying neighbors.' But who knows.

charla beth said...

Neighborly Love

Oh goodness gracious dear, I have no idea how I missed that first Knock Knock Thud post—that one was hysterical, I love your style of writing.

This post, however? A little less humorous. What an awful situation. He sounds like a well-meaning man, but I think some people just don’t understand the concept of boundaries or tact. It was sweet of you to help him out with his Band-Aids and now, it sounds like he’s found a newfound best friend!

I understand the situation completely—I have the same thing happen to me often, where half the people I meet feel obligated to tell me their life story. :/ as much as it can be a compliment that they trust you so much, it can be taxing on your life! I hope you find a way around such awkwardness, dear. That’s really tough.

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