Yeah, I basically just can't live with 'em. If the past three years have taught me anything, it's that I'm not cut out for subdivision living. At least, not this subdivision.
See, I grew up in the "country," which meant that while we had neighbors, they lived on the other side of the cornfield. You saw your neighbors when you wanted to see them, not say, when you were trying to quickly slip out back to hang cloth diapers on the clothesline, wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and no bra. This is, of course, purely a hypothetical situation.
Unfortunately, we live next door to a man I'll call The Mayor. The mayor knows EVERYONE who lives on our street and in the surrounding blocks. Not only does he know them, but he wants to share every tidbit of information he has about them. This makes me uncomfortable for two reasons: 1) I don't care, and 2) if he's telling us about other people, I'm certain he's telling these other people about us. ("Can you believe it? Outside at noon, no bra on, and putting some sort of diapers on a clothesline. I know, who even HAS a clothesline anymore!?") The mayor would like us to live in a perfect Utopia, where the grass is an unnatural shade of green, and there are no weeds. Not even a lone piece of clover. Sadly for the mayor, his next door neighbor married my dirty hippie self who would never dream of letting ChemLawn within our property line.
To appease the mayor, we did use an organic weedkiller on the lawn this year, but he was still so offended by the few dots of yellow dandelions on our lawn that he offered to buy us ChemLawn. Oh yes, he thought the only reason that we didn't treat our lawn was because we apparently couldn't afford the $50. Ignoring the obvious fact that if we were truly that destitute, one would think he'd be more concerned with the welfare of our CHILD, Shane explained (for the zillionth time) that, no, we feel it is not environmentally sound to slather our lawn with something that has CHEMICAL in the name. The mayor was still confused by this, as he lives his life for mowing his lawn at least three times a week, in perfect crosshatch patterns, with nary a stray piece of grass growing in the cracks of his driveway. The mayor once told us that he planted bushes in the front yard to block the view of the pickup truck of the man across the street. A few weeks later, he planted a bush directly opposite our driveway. We don't have a garage, so I'm terribly sorry that I've yet to purchase an invisibility cloak to block my apparently offensive car!
Now, let's talk about our lawn. Yes, it's not free of dandelions and clovers (both of which I think are pretty, but clearly, I don't base my self-worth on how green my grass is), but it's always cut short, I have a lot of flowers planted, we mulch, and weed. As sweet as I think it would be to have a meadow full of wildflowers in the front yard, I realize that idea fits about as well in a subdivision as I do.
So, what would I like out of a neighbor? If I'm in the front yard, I think that's fair game for smiling, waving, and engaging in brief small talk. If I'm in the back yard, a brief wave is nice, but that's about it. Luckily, our house borders a cornfield, so there's no one beyond the fence, but the ever oppressive force of the mayor always seems to be RIGHT THERE. I tend to realize that I probably am in the minority, and it's not that I wouldn't love to have a good friend living in the neighborhood, but I don't like the complete nosiness or concern over the state of my LAWN.
My absolute favorite neighbor is the man across the street who always waves and says hi, but leaves it at that. Okay, the truth is, he's my favorite neighbor because he once saw me leaving for Honors Night in a black dress, then the next day, told Shane that I looked very sharp, but really I do appreciate the polite distance. So, my dream neighbor? Waves, says hi, compliments my smokin' hotness. Is that too much to ask?
I do always remind myself that people out there have neighbors who are much, much worse. I also remind myself that we're lucky to have the cornfield behind us. And finally, I remind myself that in four years, our mortgage will be paid, and hopefully the housing market will have stabilized. Then, we can look into selling this house, and moving on to greener, neighborless pastures, where I can rock the braless t-shirt look all I want. Not that I would ever do such a thing, of course.