Jun 30, 2012

Hello Neighbor!

 Sooo, I got a big ol' slap in the face this last week on the whole lesson about loving your neighbor and stuff.

You see, on either side of us we used to have two great neighbors.  Their kids came in and out of my house. Shoot, we watched each other's kids in a pinch, we were friends, they watched our house when we were gone.  They were my friends.

And then wouldn't you know it, both of them up and moved on me this year.  Doggone it!  We really miss them!
So what's a gal to do but start praying about the new neighbors that would be moving in and how we could best love them.
On the left we got a nice family.....but they don't speak English and keep to themselves.  That was a bit of a disappointment.

So with bated breath, I waited to see who would buy the house on the right.

Well, a single hispanic older guy was all I ever saw drive in and out once the sign went down.  I never saw any furniture moved in though and he seemed to be rarely there.  What the heck?  Was he getting it ready to rent?  With almost every house on our street foreclosing or short selling in the last couple years (our neighborhood is only five years old), I really wasn't looking forward to another rental next door.

After a couple months went by, he didn't appear to be getting it ready to rent and seemed to actually be living there at least part time, though I still never saw any real signs of furniture or life over there.  So, figuring I'd better make friends with the guy, I attempted to wave a few times.

I got what appeared to be an angry glare.  I felt kinda huffy.  What the heck?????

So one day I was pulling out my trashcans by the edge of his driveway when he drove up.  He was only five feet away with the window down. I thought, "Here I go on the whole nice neighbor thing"....so... I waved and tried to walk over with my friendliest face.  I was going to introduce myself.

You know what he did???? He gave me a stare, rolled the window up, got out, slammed the door without giving me a look back.  It was obvious he was making it clear he was not talking to me.

Another time, I had Tone mow the grass that we share between driveways because his was getting so long.  He drove up while Tone was mowing his half, got out, and didn't say a thing and walked into the house.
But the next day he mowed the rest of his lawn.

We were wondering, how do we show that we care for a neighbor that doesn't communicate?  Do we mow the whole thing for him?  Do his weeding that he hasn't done?  Would that be terribly offensive on the other hand?

Now I was sure we had a jerk living next door.  So for the next month, we just stared at him cautiously as he came in and out.  He never made eye contact.

My imagination went wild.  Who the heck was living next door and what was he up too???  My mind would kindly interject that everybody has a story and perhaps there was a reason...but then I would think, "Yeah, like what kind of reason would one have to act like that?"

Maybe he saw my crazy kids and figured it's better to run for the hills or pretend we don't exist.  I mean I don't know.

This week, we were pulling out all of our camping gear to head for the hills for a few days with friends, when the guy got out of his truck and started waving his hands at Tone, obviously trying to get his attention.  Tone had in earphones for his music so he pulled them out.

Um, OK, guess what?
Our new neighbor is DEAF.
Yeah, slap me upside the head.
He is so hard of hearing that he can't have conversations with people very well and his hearing aids were out the day I was trying to talk to him.  He explained that he just avoids in those situations.

Yeah, and slamming his door at me?  I bet he didn't even know since he can't hear that.

He introduced himself and told Tone that he saw me wave but was unable to talk at the moment.  He said that he works close by, is single, and stays to himself because of his hearing loss, so let him know if his TV is too loud or anything.  So five minutes later I was (again) putting the trashcan out a day early for when we would be gone camping and he gestured again.  I really wasn't sure what he was trying to say.  Finally he just said in loud talking/ slightly slurred voice, "Put the can beside the house and I'll take it out for you so people won't know you're gone."
A smile broke out all over my face as I said, "Thank you so much!" Shoot, anyone can lip read THAT!
We got back from camping and there was our can by the side of the road where he put it for us.

I guess I TOTALLY learned my lesson about prejudging people.
Guess what?  I waved at him today and he waved back.

2 comments:

  1. Wow...I would have thought the exact same thing and written the guy off. I'm glad you all finally got to talk to him and figured it all out!

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  2. What a story! That's a good reminder not to judge people before you know their situation. He sounds like a nice guy! That was sweet of him to move your trash cans for you :)

    Hope you had fun on your trip!

    ♥ Bethany

    www.happyhomemaker.me

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