This morning I woke up with the phrase good fences make good neighbors running loose in my brain. Why? Because of something that happened yesterday.
Yesterday by around 8 AM our neighborhood looked like a used car parking lot. A bunch of cars from outside the neighborhood kind of parked all around the giant mountains of snow left by the snow plows through no fault of their own. It has been cold so not much has melted, there has been a lot of snow, and no more places to put it. One of the vehicles, a white truck, was even blocking the edge of my driveway.
All this snow has shrunken our on street parking making everything more difficult. Even mail delivery.
The cars came from outside our neighborhood and across a major road. The cars came from a property that new people moved onto at some point in 2020 and literally built a giant garage on that seems bigger than the house when you drive by.
The house has a bigger and longer driveway with more space behind the house for parking than anyone in our neighborhood. And again, across a major road, so if I lived there I would not park in the neighborhood across the road because it’s like playing chicken to cross the big road, a state road, safely anyway.
These folks have a LOT of cars and seemingly just a lot parked on their property. But it’s their property, so just an observation. Of course it’s an observation I wouldn’t even think to make if they didn’t park multiple vehicles in a small neighborhood on a small road that was not really where they lived.
Since these people moved into the area they literally park a couple to a few vehicles on our street a great deal of the time. A little head scratching considering their driveway size, parking pad, and big old garage, but hey, they bought a property that has needed a boatload of work so ok, I get it, work trucks and equipment need room. And you want to be neighborly, right?
Their parking habits weren’t a problem until yesterday. Yesterday when they butted one vehicle literally on a neighbor’s bumper South Philly style and blocked the edge of our driveway. That and the mountains of snow made it an issue. Our houses are all the way at the end of the road so it was a little odd. Usually they take all the on street parking further up the road. And no one gave any of us the heads up they would be taking most of our on street parking at one end of the street. Which in winter weather is just nice to do right?
I actually didn’t say anything to the people. It was 8 AM or maybe earlier, I was in my nightgown and needed coffee. I figured I would have coffee and get dressed and then see what was up.
However, I didn’t do anything in the end because my one neighbor got in her car and drove to their house. She asked them nicely if they could move their cars. They were expecting someone that needed room to park and then there is USPS.
If you are parking too close to or blocking a mailbox around here they literally will not deliver the mail. I know because we had one of our vehicles out of the driveway a few days ago because the heating repair guy was coming to adjust something and needed room to get into driveway, etc. As they were leaving, the mail was coming and I was told although we were not blocking the mailbox it was close enough that if it happened again we wouldn’t get the mail delivered because they couldn’t easily pull up and pull out, they would have to back up.
The neighbor who went to talk to these people is literally the nicest person you will ever meet. She would give you the shirt off her back. Never mean, never rude, just lovely. The people in the car house were not exactly receptive to her. So she kind of said “ok” and left.
In the meantime I had dressed and was looking out the window again at the truck blocking the edge of my driveway. Agonizing over what to do. You see, no one wants to have to call the police on someone. Especially for something like this.
But I didn’t have to do anything in the end because next thing you know I see out the windows these guys walking down the road rather animatedly. I could not hear their conversation, but body language said “annoyed”.
These guys moved the cars. I was off the hook and didn’t have to deal with the fact that someone had parked blocking the edge of the driveway in weather that narrows everything.
But it still begged the question in today’s world of what to do. Do you try to be the nice neighbor and talk to them next time, or just call the police? I put it out there to my friends and some said just let police handle it, and some said bake them cookies and go talk to them.
Well by last evening I learned these people weren’t the people you baked cookies for or invited over for a cook out. These people called the police on my nice neighbor. Yes, the nicest woman on the planet and she was told not to talk to them, not to go to their house, and so on.
The police were super nice to my neighbor, and they had a responsibility to do their jobs, so that isn’t an issue. The issue is the not quite neighbors odd over-reaction to a simple, polite, and pleasant request from my neighbor. Not a next door neighbor obviously because they don’t actually live in our neighborhood, but an area neighbor from a neighborhood they use like a parking lot. My other issue? They did this to her in a fit of righteous indignation or whatever and they literally had blocked part of my driveway. That’s actually not ok.
So sadly now we know what kind of neighbors they are going to be. And I say sadly because literally everyone around here is so nice. From road to road, just nice people. Honestly coming from the Main Line which had changed so much by the time I moved to Chester County, it took me a while to get that neighbors are still nice.
And my neighbors especially? These are the people that in normal times we gather with and have cookouts with or just hang out. These are the people that taught me the lovely traditions of leaving each neighbor a small Christmas gift. These are the neighbors who will come running with jumper cables if your battery is dead. These are the people who gathered together to help when another neighbor had a house fire. These are the neighbors that will help you move tree debris in a storm. And all during COVID19 we have socially distanced outside but check on each other and say hello. These are the people you dream of having as neighbors. Good, solid, decent, caring, nice people.
So it’s really sad that these other people can’t see what nice people are about. Now we know. A Valentine would have been nicer. But there are some who don’t understand the golden rule of do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. Try to be kind to one and other.
Carla: I grew up in a small upstate ny town where everybody in the neighborhood looked out for each other. Sadly for most of us those days are long gone. Additionally, i would keep an eye on the frequency of the visitors as there just might be something going on that would require a visit form the police. Just a thought.