We've lived in our humble abode for a little over 19 years, and for those 19 years, my neighbor has been waging a psychological war. One in which he seems to always, somehow, come out victorious. Let me backtrack just a bit.
The day after we moved in, one of his daughters' cars appeared in front of our house. The car, about 20 years old then, was, to put it mildly, a heap. And when asked why it was not parked in front of his own house, this neighbor replied, "Because I don't want to inconvenience my guests when they park." Hmm... well what about the fact that you are now inconveniencing MY guests? And that's putting aside the fact that it was a rusted out old piece of junk gracing my side of the curb. I had to use the utility company as an excuse to get him to move it after he refused my polite requests to relocate it or better yet, donate it to charity.
A few short weeks later, my house alarm went off when I wasn't home. Within 5 minutes of my car pulling into the driveway, he was at my door, complaining that the noise was a nuisance. Yes, I can understand that it is, but did it ever occur to him that there may have been a reason for it going off, like a burglar paying a visit perhaps, or a murder in progress? I guess not. His reaction was a bit over the top, and I laughed it off after I apologized, but a few days later, I realized that this same neighbor had a loudspeaker attached to the roof of his garage, aimed right for my bedroom. And this loudspeaker was spewing forth show tunes, opera, and Cher at various times of the day and night, usually when I put my daughter, who was young at the time, down for a nap. His teenage daughters would have parties outside in the warm months, and the loudspeaker would blast until 2 or 3 am. After calls to the neighbor and to the police, nothing would happen. I'd try to reason with the guy. It would work for one afternoon, or one evening, and then the volume and "Do You Believe" would be back up to levels loud enough to wake the dead. Whenever this idiot would be out in the yard, or at his pool, even in his garage, that loudspeaker would be blaring. Les Miz was bad enough on Broadway, I didn't have to hear the soundtrack in my own bedroom, over and over again.
Mind you, we put up with this for 13 years, before I did a little research into our township's zoning code, and found, lo and behold, that loudspeakers are prohibited on private residences and unless he took it down, he'd be fined $500. Well, it seems money does talk, because since July 5, 2004, when he received a violation notice from the township, he's been wearing earphones and Cher has finally been silenced. And since then, I've found that every single one of my neighbors had asked him to be reasonable over the years, and he refused. I became the neighborhood heroine, an accolade I would have gladly done without if it meant not having to confront this man about anything.
This is our long and storied history. While some of you would say, "Wow, that's nothing. You should meet MY neighbor," there is something about this person that just twists me into knots. It's his obvious disregard for anyone else that gets me, I guess. He just doesn't care. He doesn't care about being a good neighbor, doesn't care about anyone else except himself and he lets you know it when you confront him. And that to me is such a foreign concept that I would rather let the township do the confronting than face him myself.
Of course, as I look out the window and see the newest version of his junk car sitting right in front of our house, I know I'm going to have to ring his bell and ask him to move it, again. Did I mention it's leaking oil in a puddle in front of my house, and that's why it's not on his driveway? And that we are expecting 18 inches of snow tonight and it's sitting right where the township usually plows all the snow that has fallen on our street? And that if it stays there, all that snow will wind up in my driveway while his remains pristine?
So as I gird my loins to pay this guy another visit to plead my case, I console myself with the fact that he's 15 years older than I am and he won't live forever. Either that, or the township will do an automated call and ask everyone to move their cars off the street. I'm waiting just a little bit longer for the phone to ring.