Reading the communities magazine, someone said how horrified we all are at how we behave in conflict. So true. I’m not happy of all my reactions and actions. But I was shocked by what others did. When someone shows who they really are, believe them (said Maya Angelou). I believe. When the poop hit the fan, some of my neighbors went low.
I didn’t know who people were until it was too late. I had bought the house!
I had leant out my mother’s old wheelchair to a neihbor who hurt their ankle. That was the one person I thought I was getting to know the best. We were walking together until the ankle injury and they were the first person I told of an action I took and they obviously disagreed. Never heard from them again. Months later when I asked if they used Hello Fresh since my son was interested in trying it, they ignored my email. Hello Fresh? Really?
But right when their ankle healed, they threw the wheelchair in a dirty storage unit. Why not just put it on my porch?
I also leant them a rocking chair which they loved having on their porch. As I moved out I insisted they keep it. Nope. That ended up on my porch. The one thing I didn’t want. It broke soon after and I had to haul it to the stinky county dump anyways, after moving it which I didn’t want to.
Another family made sure I got back anything I had ever let them borrow. It may have started accidentally. I had meant to give them back a pretty bowl they had shared some cooking with me. I had it to give back to them way before the conflict but kept forgetting. So I had my son put it on their porch since they were turning their back on me and even texted me to stay away (It didn’t stop the dad from verbally yelling at me and then apologizing in an email saying he doesn’t see me much and I happened to walk by at a bad moment). So, that’s when their purge started. It felt personal – don’t want to see me or anything associated with me. I felt sad since I gave their children some books to read on diversity. Would their kids be racist now? (a joke, kinda).
As I was moving out their youngest baby had just learned to sit up and was sitting on their porch one day. Mom was looking down on their cell – on purpose or not. The sweet baby waved at me. I waved back. They forgot to give the baby the memo. It made me think of the book A Boy called It. His mother had made him the black sheep of the family but then had a new baby who would coo and love at him. That’s how i felt. This baby only knew kindness. So, how do kids learn to hate? It also made me sad that I wouldn’t see this baby grow up like I thought when they were born as the first newborn in the neighborhood. Yet, the parents had trouble teaching their older kids right from wrong and created havoc for many neighbors and other kids. Not much hope there. They didn’t even tell their older kids that they were supposed to avoid me now that the adults were mad. I had awkward moments when they wanted to show off a kite or something. It must have been confusing for them that this once friendly neighbor was suddenly not as interested in seeing the caterpillar they found (another day, and the dad just tried to distract them and have them come back to their home porch). I was embarrassed too and the other adult neighbors didn’t say anything about how ridiculous it all was.
I wish them the best and I know they finally got the message that their behavior is unwanted and are moving out of the community too, eventually.