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April 7, 2012

Was up on a ladder screwing a yardarm, for bird feeders, into my fence when I spied my neighbors, immediately behind us, and shouted out, “Hello, I’m your new neighbor!”

We’ve lived in this house, my wife and I, in a golfing subdevelopment, for almost two months, and hadn’t seen the neighbors directly behind us in all that time. No wonder, as all the back yards in our neighborhood are surrounded by  “privacy fences,” constructions of six-foot dog-eared boards and gates. Maybe I’d glimpsed this young couple once or twice, from our kitchen, padding around their bedroom (shades open) or their patio.

neighbor house

Who that livin' across the fence? Am I my neighbors' keeper?

They were in their 20s or early 30s, I surmise. And when I hoisted myself over the fence and hallooed them, their response was — get this — “Haven’t you been here all along?”

Whoa, now, Nellie! Do I look like I’ve been here all along? Look like I’m the one who’s been here, private and isolated, all this time, huddling behind my privacy fence? Nah, the previous owners, the original owners, were here six years, but the young couple, who might not have been in their house all that long, never met them.

I felt like taking down the privacy fence immediately. Something there is that doesn’t love a fence. Especially a privacy fence that clutches us in our isolation and precludes neighborly meetings. Are we supposed to get out our ladders to lean over the fence and jaw with our neighbors? Could be. But we’d rather not, right?

Of course, most of my neighbors, unlike Jennifer and me, are working stiffs. And may be too stiff, at the end of a day or the start of the next, to salute their neighbors and indulge in chitchat. If this is true, dear neighbors, not to worry — I’ll bring out my ladder and halloo you.


From → city living

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