Saturday, July 9, 2016

Love Thy Neighbor

I was reading TheSeven Laws of Love and the chapter about loving your neighbor, specifically your literal neighbors, made me smile and really reflect.

Right now, we pretty much love all of our neighbors. Just for fun, I thought I’d share some of our craziest neighbor stories today.

In our first apartment we had an upstairs neighbor who vacuumed multiple times a day, often around 5 or 6am. He was bald but occasionally wore a red minstrel-type wig. He liked to smoke on his balcony but clearly hated small talk (so do we, so no big deal) because he would be clearly visible from the parking lot but as we got closer to our door he would crouch down in an effort to not be seen. We could still see him but we didn’t want to talk any ways so everybody won.

When we first got married, we lived in some condos on the edge of our small town. Some nights we’d walk across the highway and take a little walk along the airport, blue runway lights guiding us all the way. There were mostly old people in the condos, and no little kids that I ever saw, but also a few students from the pilot school at the airport. Our upstairs neighbors and diagonal across-the-street neighbors were in pilot school. The upstairs neighbors often threw parties which they always invited us to. At first, we went. We weren’t partiers but it was fun to shake things up a bit. We quickly re-learned that we weren’t partiers so we then spent a lot of nights/mornings sighing in frustration over the loud music and occasional weird thumps we’d hear over our heads. Also, sometimes I would get really nervous imagining the ceiling caving in on us under the weight of all those people.

We left those condos to move into our Winnebago Brave and travel the country. But first, we lived in the trailer park in the same town to save up money. Our first neighbor welcomed us by coming outside, pistol in hand, and energetically waving her arms as she said “If you ever need anything, anything at all, you just let me know!” A few days later she laughed as she told me she almost shot Ryan when he got home from work the night before because she thought he was a prowler coming to steal her propane tank. I wanted to say “Dear God, let them have it! Don’t shoot anything by your propane tank!” But instead I said “Well he works until 9 a lot so please don’t ever shoot him.” Then when she found out we had the same last name she said she really liked the name Sara Bell and was now thinking about changing her first name (which I months later found out wasn’t even at all her first name) to Sara. Oh. And. One time Ryan had to get her to move A TON of stuff out of the way of our truck so he could get to work because the biohazard team cleaning an unidentified mold out of her trailer had instructed her to remove everything!

After that we headed to a trailer park in Wyoming. We saw a million awesome sights but we also saw a guy skinning a deer on the picnic table at his site near the playground.

In our next apartment, our neighbors were a crazy young couple who would wake us up around 3am fighting. They were always screaming at each other about the craziest things, like him breaking her ceramic elephant some old boyfriend gave her, or him being crazily angry that she fell asleep watching a movie (at 3am!). Mostly, I think the guy just had issues. Once we called the police when she screamed that he was choking her and to stop biting her.

We didn’t have any issues in Minnesota but in our next town we had a set of neighbors who used to stand by their windows and watch us. We’d go out to get the mail or get in the Jeep and leave, and there they would be. They’d always act like it was just coincidental timing, but it didn’t take us long to notice that they were always barefoot and always went immediately back inside after talking to us. Also they kept insisting on coming to our house.

Ironically, one of our favorite neighbors (super friendly but kept to himself, always willing to help, randomly mowed our yard one day when he noticed Ryan had been using our manual push mower, and more) turned out to be a major drug kingpin. There’s even a movie about him. We looked it up to find out if it was true and discovered his police record, with photos, to prove that it indeed was. 

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