Friday, July 9, 2010
Quiet, friendly, non-chatty, distant, neat. Those are some of my favourite words to describe my ideal neighbours.
We have one set of neighbours just like that. They keep to themselves, they're quiet and when you see them in the street all you need to do is wave and smile. Perfect.
Then there are some not-so-perfect neighbours, like those who have parties every second weekend. That annoys me, but I can live with it. Or those who go outside their house to have their big arguments. It's just unfortunate that their preferred spot for yelling happens to be right outside my daughter's bedroom.
But the ones I find unbearable are the nosy ones.
The retired couple who live across the road from us are always home. That's fine, they're entitled to be there. But I, too, am almost always at home. And we happen to have big windows facing the street, where anyone passing by (not many; it's a quiet street) can see into our lounge room, dining room and kitchen. This was not a problem until these particular neighbours moved in.
They love to look into the windows of our house, and make no attempts to do this subtly.
One day, I was sitting at my dining room table, typing on my laptop. Abbey was sitting next to me, drawing. At one point I noticed she had stopped and was looking out the window, and she then began waving. I looked outside and there were the neighbours - standing in our front yard, waving to her. I got up and moved us to another room.
Another day, I was looking after my niece and playing with her and Abbey in the lounge room. We played cars and trains, we danced and we acted silly. When I looked outside, I was surprised to see the neighbours standing on the street, watching us and laughing. I closed the curtains.
The day after I had friends over for lunch last week, they came over as I was getting out of the car and asked what the event was and why we had so many people over. I told them, but what I really wanted to say was: 'Mind your own business'.
Maybe I'm the rude one here, but I really do prefer my neighbours to be of the smile-and-wave variety. I don't want to feel as though I should rush in from the car or avoid going outside when they are there, in fear of being bailed up in gossipy conversation for a length of time.
But I'm trying to be on my best behaviour. After all, as Steve likes to remind me, the nosy neighbours are the ones likely to notice if something goes wrong when we're away on holidays or out for the day.
There is nothing to be gained by upsetting them.
Except, of course, some peace and privacy.
What type of neighbour do you like? Do you have any neighbours that make you want to move to a very isolated, large block of land?
Posted at 7:00 AM