The leaves are starting to fall off the poplar trees in my yard, and that’s bad news.
Not because I have to rake the leaves, but because once they’re gone, the neighbors will be able to see my yard — including the washing machine and toilet we pulled from a rental property this summer, the front-flower-bed blackberry experiment that morphed into a front-yard blackberry nightmare, and worse yet, me getting into the car in my pajamas to drive my kid to the bus stop.
I may be a bad neighbor sometimes, but I’m definitely not the worst.
To make myself feel better about my neighborly shortcomings, I compiled a list of nine types of neighbors who are worse than me (or you):
#9 Community college lacrosse players
We made the mistake of renting a townhouse to a group of them last year. When we asked them to stop throwing empty beer cans in the front yard, the boys claimed squirrels were responsible. They were clearly lying, as everyone knows beer-stealing, hard-drinking squirrels hide the empties in their nests.
#8 Neighbors who blow their grass clippings into the street instead of their own yard
Not because your grass clippings bother me, but because I have to listen to my husband complain about the grass clippings in the street every time we drive by your house.
#7 Neighbors whose dogs bark all night
I had a neighbor who would put her Bichon in the back yard around 11 p.m. The dog would bark intermittently until I got out of bed and knocked on her door to ask her to bring the dog back in, usually around 1 a.m. “Oh, did I leave the dog out?” she’d ask with a puzzled look on her face. No, you didn’t leave the dog out, she snuck out on her own, fired up the grill, and is making weenies for that really hot German Shepherd down the street.
#6 Neighbors who don’t get it
Some people just don’t get it. “It” could be repetitive annoying behavior such as letting your kids shoot hoops in the driveway at 2:30 a.m. or letting your pets poop on my lawn.
Here’s how to tell if you’re the neighbor who doesn’t get “it.” Look at the fence between your house and your neighbor’s. If the neighbor’s fence runs only along your shared property line, rather than enclosing their whole yard, this is an indication that you don’t have a clue how annoying you are.
#5 Neighbors who use plants to sneak over to your side of the property line
Property-poaching neighbors plant a wee little shrub right on the property line that sucks up your yard space as it grows. So when you’ve had enough of that trespassing shrub, be a courteous neighbor and use hedge clippers rather than a noisy chain saw when you cut it down at 2:30 a.m.
#4 People who upcycle their trash onto your property
One lady who lived in a neighborhood that lacked bulk trash pickup came up with her own disposal plan: She put her old push mower and ratty patio furniture on another neighbor’s back patio in the middle of the night. The recipients called and asked her to remove her trash, and she told them she thought they would like the mower and chairs. The next night, she moved them to another neighbor’s backyard.
#3 Neighbors who bury their spouses in front-yard crypts
An Alabama court recently heard a case of a man who buried his wife and put a headstone beside the front steps to his home. Neighbors said he had created an illegal cemetery, but he said it was a legal family graveyard. The home owner lost his case, which means he’ll have to move the body. Maybe he should have told the court the squirrels did it.
#2 Condo neighbors with 20 cats
What’s the difference between an animal lover and animal hoarder? About 18 or 19 cats. Two Chicago condo owners are suing their downstairs neighbor because the litter box odors generated by the 20 cats living in the neighbor’s one-bedroom condo have made it difficult to sell their property. Wouldn’t you love to see the comments left by shoppers during their open houses?
#1 Naked neighbors who use chain saws
One neighbor was a source of embarrassment to his community for years — until the day he took his penchant for doing yard work in the buff a bit too far. Every time neighbors called the police, he’d always manage to run away before police could see him in all his glory. But the day he decided to fire up a chain saw with nary a stitch of clothing on was the day police nailed him. Got to wonder if it was the fear of losing his hoo-ha that prevented him from his usual escape strategy of “drop whatever you’re doing and run.”
What’s the most annoying thing your neighbors have done?