This morning, we had THINGS TO DO. My dad was visiting, he had his chainsaw, and we needed to cut down some trees so grass will grow in our yard. Since we are usually up before 7, we waited till a reasonable hour (8:30) to get started. In our old neighborhood, getting a jump on Saturday morning yard work would earn major brownie points with our elderly neighbors. It would have absolutely thrilled our socially awkward, OCD neighbor across the street.
Well, we don’t live on Woodlawn Drive any more. Fifteen minutes into our work, just after felling a large Aspen, up went the ground-floor apartment window next door and out popped the head of a Very Angry Lady who just got home from her night shift. She wasn’t really in the mood for give and take. She was pretty ticked off and I don’t think she wanted to be calmed down. Lance and my dad were a little annoyed, but tried to be friendly to her. My people-pleasing trait went into over-drive and I started thinking about what kind of cookies I should bake and bring over later. We took an hour break.
A small part of me wanted to be indignant. It is MY yard and MY time.
However, if I put myself in her shoes, it was pretty easy to understand how she felt. After all we WERE running a CHAINSAW right outside her window on Saturday morning, and she had probably just drifted off to sleep after working all night. We don’t live in a neighborhood filled with retirees and 40-hour a week white-collar workers any more. Our neighbors are plentiful and diverse. They are minorities, refugees, Jesse Pinkman-types, single moms, young professionals, and who knows what else. We are a college educated, stable white-collar family who moved in right next door with big plans and a savings account.
We know how to be good neighbors, and that is something we can offer to them. What can they offer us? I am not sure, because we haven’t met most of them (except Angry Night Shift Lady).
I think they are going to teach us a lot about how to be a good neighbor. How to show grace. How to understand lifestyles other than our own. To be considerate and conscientious. Hopefully, someone offers us some delicious ethnic food.
After my run today, I turned back onto our block. The streets are lined with beautiful houses, all over a century old. So many stories have been lived on this street. Some of the houses have always been cared for, others have been horribly abused and some have been restored. Up the street, I could see Lance and Fisher hauling branches into the bed of the truck. Next door, Jesse Pinkman came out for a smoke. And even though it must seem crazy to most, my heart warmed at this site. The story of this street goes on and our chapter here is just beginning. I am so glad.