Love thy neighbor ... Or not

Most of us have lived next to the neighbors from hell at least once in our life. It may have been while owning a home, and you knew that you were stuck. Or maybe while your were living in a apartment and they were upstairs!

When Sister and I first moved to Kingman, we had an interesting group of people living across the street. In the mornings we would sit on our deck drinking coffee, and just watch some of the unusual activity. They appeared to have about three dogs, and a lot of traffic in and out. The tiniest of the dogs would wiggle out of their fence each morning and take off down the street. Most of the time, he would come back with something in his mouth. It could be a toy, a piece of what appeared to be garbage from somewhere, or sometimes just a stick!

During the six months we lived there, we watched two raids by DEA and other local law enforcement agencies. At one point, we saw nine people brought outside and taken away in handcuffs. Not exactly ideal neighbors, but I must admit it was never boring.

In any case, not all neighbors are conducive to a happy living arrangement. Although most neighbors are pretty easy to work with. If you have kids at home and they don't, they may make a genuine effort to keep them in their own yard! Unfortunately, it is a little different if they have dogs, and you don't! After you complain for the fifth time about the never ending barking in their absence, they may still tell you, "Our dogs don't bark." Now, in their minds they may be telling the truth. Some dogs only bark when they are left alone. When the owners return home, and nothing has been destroyed they are thankful that their babies have behaved perfectly. Sister and I are major dog lovers and would never call the law on a dog unless he were being abused. There were many mornings we found someone else's dog sitting on our front steps. I think Kingman has a lot of dogs who are not fenced in.

You may have lived next door to partiers. When you are young you see that as a good thing. They won't complain about your drunken guests at 2 in the morning, and vice versa. As well as you will likely be invited to the party, also. As long as most of this behavior happens on the weekends, everybody is happy! Yes, the party years.

Just about everyone has had at least one bad neighbor. Here are just a few that come to mind. When my oldest son was living in Washington state, he and his wife had a lovely home. The only drawback being that they had a third floor balcony that looked into all the homes, on the lower levels. Now you might think that because of this, people would close their drapes or blinds for privacy. Not true. In fact, it appeared that some left things open, deliberately. They had a woman in one of those homes who obviously liked to walk around her place naked! My son and his wife would often be sitting outside on their balcony, and lo and behold a naked lady could be seen wandering around in her kitchen. They thought it was pretty funny in the beginning. Well, maybe my daughter-in-law not so much. But it was certainly more neighborly than they wanted things to be. It also was not something easy to mention in passing to the neighbor.

I had a neighbor next door who owned a small fishing boat. I happened to work nights at the time, and early morning sleep was precious to me. When he would come home after a night of fishing, he would put the garden hose into some area of the boat, and I think he put the motor on. I know nothing about boats, but think perhaps it was to clean the salt water out of something. In any case, it was loud enough to wake up ANYONE who was sleeping within a three block radius.

After the first few times, I went over and spoke to my neighbor. I asked him if this was something he NEEDED to do each time he brought the boat back home. He smiled and said, "I don't have to do it at all, but I like to. And besides, after daylight I can make all the noise I want!" I did mention that I work nights and it was really hard for me to get back to sleep. He thought that was funny! After only a few months of this neighbor from hell, I gave my notice to move. I was thankfully only renting at the time, and it was month to month. I really liked the place, but it wasn't worth the aggravation of the neighbor. I had figured out that he was the homeowner and wasn't going anywhere anytime soon. As my luck would have it, on the very day I was loading my truck to move, I watched a FOR SALE sign go up in front of HIS house. Who said life was fair?

I have rented duplexes a few times in my life. If you have ever done so, you know that you are often joined together by a common wall. Ideally, you would like it to at least be garages separating you.But sometimes you just take what you can get. Some years ago, I had occasion to live in a duplex that had the common wall. This common wall connected our places bedroom to bedroom! Probably the worst possible room to connect with.

As you can well imagine, I could hear every single sound from their bedroom. Most of the sounds were not what you would call "of a musical nature." In fact, I found myself tapping my knuckles against the wall, just to remind the, they were not alone! Since these were two bedroom units, I had hoped that perhaps they might switch to the other bedroom. Those hopes were quickly dashed. In fact, they went on to playing very loud music, in order to cover whatever sounds they might be sharing. This loud music actually got to be more annoying than the "other" sounds I had been listening to. (Did I mention that they were as busy as a couple of rabbits?) Anyway, I finally gave up and just started sleeping on the living room couch. Being a good neighbor yourself, doesn't necessarily result in GETTING good neighbors.

Have you met the borrowers? Indeed, there are those among us who think that being a good neighbor includes sharing everything you own! Your neighbor may find it unnecessary to buy a lawn mower or weed-wacker when they can just as easily use yours. After all, they do remember to bring it back, but only after you mention YOU need to use it. They may also tell you they are "keeping an eye on things, whenever you are away." I once had neighbors exactly like this. They also watched as my house was robbed in the middle of the day. They thought about calling the police, but decided not to "get involved." It was only after I had reported it and the police spoke with them, that I found out they watched it all!

How does one really know what kind of neighbors you may end up with? Sure, their place looks very well kept on the outside, and they nod their head in your direction when you come to look at the place. But the truth is, it is just the luck of the draw! Even with an HOA keeping things in order, you get no guarantees. The neighbors from hell do not advertise, nor do they always present themselves as they truly are. Inside their own back yards, and behind those closed door could be lurking your worst nightmare.