Living with Bad Neighbors
Do you have good neighbors?
From Bad To Worse In Under A Year
Since moving to the Pawtucketville section of Lowell, MA over twenty years ago, we've seen the house next door have numerous new occupants. Ranging from a Greek man on a constant mission to rid his lawn of weeds to a pack of loud potheads, the cast of characters is ever changing. I wish the current neighbors would leave as fast as the rest.
Let me explain to you the house next door. It is a two floor building, split vertically into two sections. One side is secluded in that it’s next to a small forest. The other side neighbors my house. We used to share the hill we call our backyard until my father built a fence, separating our lands. A couple of owners ago built a deck on the side facing our house. Thanks to that deck, my family has gotten to know our neighbors better than we wanted to.
When we first moved in, a young couple with two children lived next door. My brothers and I were friends with the children, Sean and Chrissy. We played together until Sean trampled on my brother Joel’s garden. They moved out one night. I don’t know why.
The neighbors that followed were an elderly couple with a daughter in her mid-thirties. She had an adorable white dog that she walked all across Lowell every day. I still see her once in awhile walking the dog that she got after that one died. They were nice, but extremely nosey neighbors. We have an above ground pool in our backyard. Every time we would go in it, the lady would come out to talk to us and watch us swim. She’d make observations about things that my family didn’t even think she had seen. When my father died, she made us a ham. It was very thoughtful of her. Once the daughter moved out, the parents went to live in an assisted living home. Though I liked the idea of having more privacy, I hated seeing them leave.
When the couple left, the Greek man who had been living on the other side of the house took over the vacant side too. He started landscaping at all hours. Every morning during the summer, I would wake up to the sound of a lawnmower, a wood chipper, a weed whacker. Our dog didn’t like him and when she’d bark at him, he’d spray her with a hose, shouting things in Greek. They ended up getting used to each other and when he moved out, I honestly believe she missed him.
A middle-aged couple moved in when he left. The woman has a teenage son who enjoys smoking pot and throwing his empty nips into our backyard. He has become the topic of discussion of the neighborhood. It’s unbelievable that he doesn’t think people notice when he carries open bottles of beer to his friend’s car. We (the other neighbors and my family) would complain to each other about the noise level coming out of the house on weekends. We couldn’t believe the fights they’d have in the driveway. We didn’t open our windows in the summer because we couldn’t handle the noise. We didn’t appreciate the police repeatedly coming to their house, but I’m sure they didn’t either. We thought all of our troubles would be over when they moved to the other side of the house. Though a move to another state would’ve been ideal, this space between us was a start.
Our current neighbors are their friends. What once was mostly a weekend problem has become a constant issue. Though their driveway clearly ends several feet from our house, they like to park close enough so that, looking out a downstairs’ window, we can see into their truck. There was one Saturday that they nearly hit our house parking so close. Regardless of the hour, they blare their music, slam doors, scream obscenities at each other, and honk their horn repeatedly. Sleep is next to impossible with these people. After a night of partying till 3 AM, they will be doing yard work at 7 AM. Now that its winter, they plow their snow onto our sidewalk. They are truly the rudest people I’ve ever met.
I realize that we haven’t always been the best neighbors. Eliza, our dog, would bark at anything and people would complain. We’d bring her in though and never let her bark for more than five minutes. As kids, we were known to make noise, but we didn’t dare make a peep once our mom told us to be quiet. Perhaps I am biased, but I’d take a barking dog over a drunk, screaming woman any day.
Unfortunately, it seems that these people will not be leaving any time soon. The drunk lady on a rare sober day told my mom that they love the neighborhood and are so glad they settled here. Somewhere I know that there are people throwing a daily party that those noisy jerks they used to have as neighbors are staying away.