I have lived in my own home now for 14 years and I have seen neighbors come and go in the two houses that are adjacent to mine. I have not been lucky when it comes to neighbors. When I first moved in, 14 years ago, was really the only time I could say I had “good” neighbors. Since that time, I have seen my fair share of miscreants and reprobates.
Of course, having said that, I have to confess that I am not that damn neighborly either. If I had my way I would live far out in the country, on top of a hill, in a teepee. With a shotgun. I am probably known to my neighbors as that crazy hermit lady. Point of fact, I actually have no clue what they think of me, except for the new tree-hating-pond-fearing neighbor, who called me crazy one time when I screamed at him after he called the health department because he feared I was spreading the West Nile virus around Oklahoma City via my small, neglected over a summer of drought and heat pond. Yea, I am crazy I guess, I just wish to be left alone.
I am not that fond of human beings, to be honest. More so every year. I just do not like to be around people. I can tolerate a few — mostly family— because they know to leave me be, and not to push too many of my buttons at the same time. Even then, they get on my nerves. Because they know they can. They are natterers. My brothers used to natter at me til my face turned blue. It was because of the color. The blue color was akin to a red stop sign to them I suppose.
So, now both empty houses next to me are filled. The one not filled with the pond hater is the guy with the huge dogs. Now I love dogs. I love dogs more than most people. But I have a small dog, and he (the neighbor) has a broken fence. One of the prior tenants put up one of those ugly stockade fences that I detest, and when he did, I did not allow him to take down my hurrcane fencing, because this is Oklahoma, after all and the only fences that stand the test of time here are made of brick, stone, or are hurricane fences that allow the mighty winds of the plains to filter through unimpeded. A fence here has to be rock hard to withstand the weather or full of holes to let it pass.
The last guy who lived in that house was a meth lab operator. I call him “The Convict”, since he had a record when he moved in, and seemed to be on a permanent path to destruction given his behavior when he lived there. I called the police a few times on him when the falderol and odd goings-on traipsed over into my property. Nothing was ever done about it by the authorities, so I lived in fear, pretty much, for six long years, until another victim of the convict followed his own stolen car to his door and called the cops. Then the shit hit the fan, and they found the meth lab, the drugs, stolen property of all sorts, and a stolen car ring. He is now serving 10 years.
So when the new guy showed up with dogs as high as my fence, you can understand why I might be a bit uneasy. Our first meeting (me and the neighbor, not me and the dogs) did not go well. He assured me the dogs were friendly, but all I could see in my mind was my own small chihuahua in the maw of one of these monsters being tossed like a rag doll.
But the fence is back up this morning. I am glad for it. To be quite honest I did not understand why anyone who cared for their dog would allow a fence to remain in that broken state when they set them loose into the yard, knowing there might possibly be hazards like loose nails, broken boards, etc. that would hurt the animals. Maybe it is just me. I freak out when my dog gets a wayward acorn husk stuck on his pad.
So Spring is coming and these guys will see this old woman in the yard more, and I am just hoping they leave me be. I am thinking this year might be the year I go full tilt crazy and act it out in public.
Pray I win the lottery. I will hire a master mason and buy a LOT of rocks.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it
And spills the upper boulder in the sun,
And make gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there,
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
“Stay where you are until our backs are turned!”
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There were it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbors.”