There’s a saying that I like quite a bit but it’s insufficient for my needs. The saying is ‘good fences make for good neighbours’. To a greater extent that’s true. I’ve had some wonderful neighbours in my life and some really shitty ones. I’ve been a wonderful neighbour in my life and I’ve been a shitty one. Right now I am being a shitty neighbour in a passive aggressive response to shitty neighbours and good fences would help but not entirely.
When I lived in London, I was in the same house for many years and saw a few neighbours come and go. One of them was murdered. That was quite tragic although it would have made a great scene for one of those British independent films. She was a sex worker, who lived next door. She had a Rottweiler called Sensie, as in Sensimillia. If you don’t know what that is, you’ve lived a sheltered fucking life.
She was a character. She had a strong cockney accent and would totter around in the concrete back yard, that served as Sensie’s toilet, in her feathered mules, wearing her dressing gown and with rollers in her hair. We’d have chats about our dogs over the fence and when she wanted Sensie to come inside she’d screech ‘Sensie, git in here. I ain’t gonna hit you.’ She was found murdered in her bathtub, presumably by a john. They never solved that crime. She had been a good neighbour.
I was an end of terrace house, so I only shared one wall with another house. When I first moved in, I had the perfect neighbour – one who was absent most of the time and who greatly appreciated me watering her plants, taking in her post and turning her lights on and off so the house looked occupied. She worked in the publishing industry and always gave me a huge pile of brand new books as a thank you. Perfect neighbour.
She ended up selling to a couple consisting of a macho, working class British guy and his Cypriot wife. He would complain quite often about immigrants. In fact, they eventually moved to Cypress to get away from all the immigrants in London. Oh the irony. He was a noisy fucker, but quite charming really. I did some deadly passive aggressive stuff to him in revenge, but can’t say I didn’t enjoy it when he would come home drunk every Friday night, when his wife was elsewhere, and sing himself loudly to sleep to old Wham songs.
We were unusual in London in that most of our neighbours knew each other. I knew pretty much everyone on the street including the old lesbian piano teacher who was lonely, the undertaker who was rich and the two nice couples who lived two doors down. They were the best of friends. Their kids grew up together and they had no fence between the gardens. Well, getting back to the saying – when one of the couple’s daughter hit 17, the father/husband from the best friend’s family got her pregnant, left his wife and ran away with her. That was a fucking scandal. Should have had a fence.
So, we get round to my current situation. On one side we have neighbours who won’t build a fence all the way around their house. You see, they are not actually our direct neighbours, but one house down. So, so they let their dogs run into our direct neighbour’s yard to fence run our dogs, causing quite a noisy kerfuffle multiple times a day. We asked them to lunch to try to talk about it and they told us they didn’t have any problem that we needed to talk about and promptly ‘unfriended’ us on Facebook. We weren’t devastated.
We tried to set an example by keeping our dog in for a long time but they just took advantage of the situation. So, while our dogs were locked up all day, theirs were wandering around enjoying their freedom. Our only consolation was knowing that one of their dogs consistently ate the other dogs’ shit and then licked their faces. We watched it many times. Eventually, we realised that they had no intention of returning the courtesy of behaving like decent human beings so, we said a resounding ‘fuck it’. One day, our considerably bigger dog is going to drag one of their dogs through the fence by the feet.
On the other side, we have neighbours who have been building their house for four years non stop. They don’t seem to comprehend neighbourliness and have been arseholes since they bought the land to build on. Their lack of comprehension skills seems to be in line with their lack of taste and common sense. So many stories, but I don’t have time. So, I’ll just let you know what I’ve been forced to resort to for the last few days.
In the process of ongoing building, he’s decided to put a huge fucking noise making power tool and compressor as close to our house as possible. Thank fuck for the fence or it would be in our bedroom. And then he makes ungodly noise that reverberates around our home, all fucking day. He has one guy who works for him who is both nice and reasonable. When he was there alone I asked him nicely to move the power tools. He obliged happily and was very pleasant about it. The actual house owner is an entitled person from a country of entitlement, which will remain unmentioned as they are also a land of butt hurt and I really don’t want to end up on any weirdo redneck hit list. Let’s just say he’s a bad ambassador.
So, since being normal, civilised and pleasant doesn’t work, I’ve resorted to Marilyn Manson. Oh Marilyn, you little nasty thing. You are every passive aggressive neighbour’s wet dream. So now, while he’s doing his crappy and, I must say, terribly tasteless, DIY, he is being entertained with stories of sodomy, satan, fisting and other gentle tunes.
Today, I am ungrateful for the good neighbours I’ve had, who clearly have spoiled me. You bastards! Seriously. I wish I lived somewhere where neighbours were still civilised and did things like make you soup when you’re sick. Or at least spent vast amounts of time out of town. I hope some of my baby chicks grow up to be roosters.