Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Neighborliness, Civility, and Other Old-Fashioned Values

So, the kids and I purchased our house a few months ago. Some of our new neighbors introduced themselves right away. As far as we can tell, they are all lovely people. But we've got to wonder about some of the others. The people who live directly across the street have never introduced themselves, or even spoken to us. Their tiny daughter has- but not the adults. We are frequently in our yards at the same time, and I used to wave when I saw them. But I never went over because I am of the opinion that the current residents are supposed to welcome the new residents. It just makes me wonder what's up that they never said hello. Personally, I feel better having some idea of who my neighbors are- and it surprises and baffles me that these people don't seem to feel the same way.

The other neighbor of concern is a guy who lives behind us. Two days ago I heard a chainsaw that sounded very near and looked out my window to see a man I didn't know hacking away at the trees that line the back of my property! Apparently he lives behind us. But he never knocked on the door to discuss whatever his issue is with my trees. He just took it upon himself to come and do major pruning. Now, I understand about the rights of neighbors to trim up to property lines when they think their property is in danger. And if my trees were threatening this guys fence, I would have trimmed them myself. But they weren't. He apparently just doesn't like them! So, right now, there is a giant pile of brush from my trees piled on the street in front of this guy's house, and at least as much still in his backyard.

What kind of a person does this? To say I am seriously unimpressed by his vigilante landscaping is a major understatement. Aside from the facts that he trespassed and intentionally damaged my property, I now have a "wonderful" view of the back of his house and a sound conduit from his dogs' vocal chords and the busy street traffic in front of his house straight to my house. But what bothers me the most is that he didn't have the decency to just knock on the door and talk to me about whatever was bothering him. I'm a pretty reasonable person. If he'd introduced himself, he'd know that.

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