Every now and then I get inspiration for a column based on conversations I have with people I meet. Today’s column fits that category.
I was out the other day and got to talking with someone. They were tired. They were under pressure at work. All they wanted was to be able to come home to peace and quiet. But where they live, that isn’t possible.
You see, they live next door to inconsiderate neighbors. You know that type of neighbor. They send their children out to play and not once look outdoors to see what those kids are up to. Their children are the ones swinging on the trees, trampling the flowers you spend hours planting, running through the grass that you keep neat and trim and throwing rocks with no regards for other people’s property. Those neighbors have a “don’t care” attitude, because in their minds, we live in a ghetto and if you attempt to keep your property otherwise, they have made it their life’s agenda to make it look, sound and smell as bad as possible.
I am forever perplexed by those neighbors who believe the ground is their garbage can. Potato Chip bags, Flaming Hot bags and whatever drink they drank are tossed to the ground as if litter doesn’t have to eventually get picked up by someone. Worst are the ones who encourage their children to drop garbage on the ground, thus guaranteeing the cycle of littering in the black community will go on through eternity.
As I listened to this lament about neighbors, the person said something that scared me. Despair and lack of hope had them say something I hope they didn’t mean. The person longed to harm their neighbors. At first I pooh-poohed the idea. Then I said something that caused me to sit back and rethink. As I told the person they weren’t the kind of person to ever do something crazy, it soon dawned on me that those are precisely the type of people who would do something crazy.
So I decided to write this column so that any of you out there who have inconsiderate neighbors can share this column with them to let them know what kind of stress they’re putting their neighbors through. When you live without considering others, people do tire of it. And when people tire of it, they can and will do something out of frustration.
If you like loud music, put on headphones so you can enjoy it without bothering your neighbors. If you have lots of children and grandchildren ripping and running up and down the sidewalks, then take them to the park so that they can enjoy themselves screaming and hollering where it won’t bother others. If you have lots of company, use your backyard to entertain them and not the front stoops and sidewalks.
Being a good neighbor is quite simple. Just do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.