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Friday, September 9, 2011


When I first moved into my house, my next-door-neighbors sat in their garage and listened to country music and drank beer. They wanted to chat every time I stepped out of my back door. My pleasantness wore thin rather quickly. I put up a privacy fence which didn’t block the #&*(@! country music, but I thought it would stop Charlene from gluing herself to me while I sat on my deck. No such luck. The neighbors simply turned up the country music and moved their chairs a bit further back in their yard so they could watch expectantly for my reappearance. I added fence. They moved their chairs again. I added more fence. My yard is skinny, but very long. If I needed to add 300 more feet of fence, I was going to do it, but eventually they gave it up and went back to their garage to listen to their wailing songs of how even the dog doesn’t love them and the wife ran off with the best friend but left the kids, and working fingers to the bone

I hate country music. I cranked up vintage Rolling Stones to drown it out.

The neighbors on the other side are just as nosy, but they’re surly and unfriendly. The woman who never talks to me suddenly acted like my best friend when I came out with a date and dressed in my best. Good manners were beaten into me as a child, so I refrained from snarling “It’s none of your business!” while my date happily told her about our theater plans while I gritted my teeth in a painful smile. If she has locksmithing capabilities, she probably took the time we were away to break in and read my diary.

This extraordinary interest in my doings might make it seem like I do things worth spying on, but I don’t. Okay, I was dressed up for the date, but otherwise I just pull weeds in my garden or brush the dog. A neighbor across the street actually started looking in my windows too. I reported him to the police. Maybe I ought to move.

Boundaries come in different forms. A fence is a pretty clear signal of I’ll stay over here and you should stay over there, but mental boundaries get crossed all the time too. A few months ago I wrote about a disagreement I had with a woman about school lunches. I told her I’m never going to agree with her opinion that we should let children starve and said I don’t want to talk about it with her any more. She won’t let it go. She recently brought it up again in a group setting because she thought she had an ally. I said once again, I don’t want to discuss this with her because it just upsets me. She has sent me multiple emails pushing the discussion and I keep saying “I’m not discussing this with you!” She’s been relegated to the spam folder. I don’t know how I can be any clearer about my boundaries, but she still has a need to throw things at my fence? It doesn’t have anything to do with me or my opinions. She just wants to fight until she feels she’s won.

This is where I turn to Harry Potter. Obviously J. K. Rowling understands dementors, beings who suck the happiness out of people. “Expecto patronum” is a spell where you think your happiest thought to drive the dementors away. If it works in a children’s novel, it’s got to work in real life too, right? If I say “Expecto patronum” at my next meeting or family gathering, at least people will know it’s time for them to back off before I charge at them with a silvery animal protector. Maybe I should carve a wand too? I just don’t know where I’m going to find a phoenix feather or unicorn hair. Oh well, if all else fails I suppose I could just hit my dementors with a stick?


  1. I find if I look at them with one eye closed, say very quietly, "You know the only time you should fear me is when I'm laughing," then start to laugh sinisterly, they get the message... haven't found a cure for C&W music yet... or the heavy base booming out of car trunks. :o) great piece again Linda.

  2. Maybe we should just play country music with heavy bass at the offenders? I'll have to work on my sinister laugh. Thanks Rand!

  3. Heh :) well I wish I could describe to you the stupid grin I have on my face because of your post - in fact it got bigger and bigger (is there a Harry Potter spell for that?) until I read the part about the man looking in the window .....

    I hate neighbours That I know exist ..... no that is untrue. Neighbours should be seen occasionally, smiled at and should come to your art shows and.... no that's not right.

    Country and Western? They played both types of music .......

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH, :) We had noisy neighbours three doors down who would start their parties at 1.oo am and they would always have a woman who cakled like a witch who's laugh would wake me up.

    One morning I got up, put on a shirt and tie and a nice jacket, went down and knocked on their door and when they answered politely told them I would sue them for as much money as I could get from them if they evere woke me up again....

    they never had another party (that I know of( and moved out 18 months later...

    I guess I am the neighbour from hell :)

    Loved your Post, and the image really sums up a good dash of magick!

    see you (am gallery sitting as I type)

  4. Oh Linda I do hope your magic works and that your "fence" issues (in all senses) don't escalate further!
    I am lucky with my neighbours...we have stayed put for 30 years in our house...they are hard to find and I count my lucky stars for them ( or have you be waving that wand around? )
    Have a mellow week,
    Jane x

  5. Jane, I've had the same neighbors for decades, so I doubt it's going to escalate with the people on either side, and the guy across the street who was looking in my windows seems to have moved out. Maybe my neighbors serve as a reminder for everyone else to be thankful for theirs?

    Andrew, yes, Harry Potter has a "cheering charm". If you overdo it you might end up in hysterical giggles though :) Love your way of dealing with your partying neighbors. I wonder if that would work on the people who shoot off fireworks at midnight? I hope your gallery sitting is proving profitable!

  6. Hilarious post! I'd love to do a rant about my neighbors. But they haven't given me any material.

  7. We are the wizards amongst muggles. You posted only the word "nice" on my illo---clearly you have far more to say.

  8. I like your choice of colors and your patronus. This would make a nice post card or even postal stamp. Good luck with those neighbors and keep the Rolling Stones blaring.

  9. Oh dear me... neighbors really are a gamble... I've had some that I adored & others that were a curse. I'm also a mostly private type with an aversion to endless small talk, so I can really relate.

    Sometimes I really wish I could do this:

  10. 'If you can't beat them, join them' somehow doesn't work for neighbours, uh? We just moved house and were delighted to find kind and quiet neighbours. It sure adds to the quality of life.
    The best mantra indeed is a nice thought, like counting your blessings. But I understand Andrew making a bold statement that enough is enough. Because one man's pleasure is another man's pain.

  11. Hope things will settle down with your neighbours, if i were in your shoe i would have gone mad by now hehe, your a very tolerant person. I love your art style, really unique, thank you for the sweet comment too.

  12. Thanks everybody! I wonder what someone would think if they got an "expecto patronum" postcard in the mail? I like the idea of sticking a stamp of it on all my bills though :)

    Thanks for the link Leah! I want to make a monster suit to answer the door in.

    Beth, I love comments, especially the lengthy ones, so I made a better one for you. Sometimes I just feel rushed and don't think of everything I could say when I see things I like.

  13. We had a meth addict living behind us for a while. His driveway is long and comes next to ours. He was out at 6am in a woman's wig trimming the bushes one morning.I also caught him siphoning gas and he had lots of felon friends. He has thankfully moved after the entire street got fed up and started calling the landlord of the house and the police. It's been nice and quiet for years now. We thankfully have a very big fence around our house.
    I like your analogy from the Harry Potter books. I hadn't thought of it that way before.

  14. LOL Patti! I'm feeling so much more fortunate now! I just love the mental picture of that guy in a wig trimming bushes.

    Thanks Brigitte! I hope this spell works for all of us :)

  15. Nope, ya can't pick your neighbors - I'm sure there's a country music song there. Love the illustration, it looks like a spell in progress!

  16. I adapted Cindy's idea and turned this art into cards the size of a business card. I'm just going to hand it to people when they get out of line. Thanks for the comments! Now I've got a very silly expecto patronum country song floating in my head :)

  17. Heisann!

    These people who intrude, are irritating persons.
    I do not have a recipe how to get rid of them, I think you just have to flee! You can't change them anyway....
    Have a nice calm week, Linda ;:OD)

  18. If you played "Honky Tonk Women" by the Stones your neighbors probably thought you wanted to be friends. ( Wouldn't it be nice if Wilson from Home Improvement actually looked over the fence and gave sage advice? ) As far as kids starving, well,I don't support that, hope no one does, but I do think parents should provide lunches for kids, not taxpayers. And a group of Lutherans want to take down the trees next to where I live to build a church- and I live in a wooded recreation/residential neighborhood. I envision flood lites all night, cars coming and going and blacktop. Yuccch! A tall fence won't help. So, For Sale it'll be for me and my cabin on 5 acres. We all need some type of Garden of Eden to retreat to. With no bad snakes!

  19. Oh! Your final comments made me laugh! I know the situation isn't particularly funny, though. In fact, it sounds completely miserable. Best of luck to you!

  20. Hmm... country music or living next to a church? That's kind of hard to decide which would be worse. I've just got a mosquito zapper next door, which has to be better than flood lights. I prefer hymns to CW though. Sometimes I do laugh about all of this and sometimes I do flee. Thanks for the comments everybody!!

  21. You really had me grinning Linda. I have neighbor issues myself. They don't like us and we just tolerate the fact that they have to be our neighbors and laugh about it when we can. ;)

  22. Really great post Linda, will remember to use the expecto patronum spell next time i bump into one of life's Dementors! :)

  23. What a wonderful post! :) I love the colorful illustration, too! Thankfully, right now, I don't have any neighbor problems, but ten years ago, my life was hell, because of neighbors! lol! So I understand!

  24. Hey Linda, I am early for next week. Just thought I would visit and read your post again :) Yes neighbours with fireworks - they (fireworks) are banned in Oz as little boys always used to blow up cats and letter boxes. :)

  25. I guess I'll never complain about my neighbors' fireworks again Andrew! No, that's not true at all, but I won't complain for a while anyway :) Thanks for the comments everybody!!